Can You Go To Jail for Shoplifting in New Jersey?

By Davis Law Firm | December 1, 2020

Shoplifting might seem like a minor crime, but it actually carries expensive fines and the potential for jail time. If you are dealing with shoplifting charges, it is important that you understand the potential consequences, as well as your legal options. Shoplifting charges in New Jersey can significantly impact your employment opportunities, in addition to college admission and your ability to rent an apartment or own a home. 

Read more: New Jersey Laws Regarding Juvenile Offenders

Potential Consequences of Shoplifting in New Jersey

If convicted of shoplifting in the state of New Jersey, you could be met with:

  • A disorderly persons charge: A disorderly persons charge is similar to a misdemeanor charge. This carries with it jail time of up to six months. 
  • Crime of the fourth degree: A crime of the fourth degree in N.J. leads to jail time of up to 18 months.
  • Crime of the third degree: A crime of the third degree in N.J. leads to jail time between three-five years.
  • Crime of the second degree: A crime of the second degree in N.J. leads to jail time between five-10 years.

The jail time that you receive will vary, depending on the value of the stolen items. Items with a lower value, valued at less than $200 are considered a disorderly persons offense, versus items that are valued at $75,000 or more, which are considered a crime of the second degree. Other factors can affect your sentencing. These include:

  • Organized enterprise: Being involved in an organized retail theft enterprise can worsen your charges.
  • Prior charges: If you have been previously convicted of shoplifting, or have other priors, you could receive higher sentencing.
  • Consequent crimes: If other crimes occurred at the time of the shoplifting, including possession of drugs or weapons, you will likely get worsened charges.
  • Age at time arrest: Minors may not be charged as severely as adults who are caught shoplifting. However, minors can still receive time spent in a detention facility.

Each case is different and the prosecutor is likely to consider each of these factors when determining the best charges.

Detained By the Store?

In some stores, it is even possible for the store itself to detain you. Because New Jersey has a shoplifting statute that allows stores to lawfully detain people they have caught in the act of shoplifting, you could actually be detained by a store employee. The employee is likely to then call the police, where you will be officially arrested and booked.

Determine Your Legal Options

If you were arrested for shoplifting, you may have options available. Even if the store has evidence of you shoplifting, your lawyer may be able to negotiate a lesser sentence. In some cases, the prosecutor is willing to negotiate less jail time in return for returning the stolen items, as well as attending counseling classes.

It is important to keep in mind that you have a limited time to consider your legal options. Once you are charged, you have fewer options. Choosing the right lawyer to represent you is important in reducing, or preventing jail time. If you are dealing with shoplifting charges, it is important to reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible.

Read more: Make Your Criminal Record Disappear During the Pandemic

Contact an Experienced Trenton Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Shoplifting Charges in New Jersey

Were you arrested or charged with shoplifting in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at the Davis Law Firm, LLC have successfully represented clients charged with criminal shoplifting in Hamilton, Trenton, Ewing, Lawrence, and throughout New Jersey. Call (609) 498-7722 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 2653 Nottingham Way, Hamilton Township, NJ 08619.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

Disorderly conduct consists of any improper behavior such as fighting, threats of violence, or creating a dangerous atmosphere.

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