Elizabeth NJ Shoplifting Lawyer
Shoplifting Charge in Elizabeth New Jersey
Individuals get involved with shoplifting in Elizabeth and other locations in the state for many reasons. Whether it is an addiction to drugs or gambling, a sense of entitlement, the thrill, a lapse in judgment or any other motivation for committing a retail theft, a conviction for shoplifting has many negative consequences. You face serious penalties and collateral ramifications that can be life altering. This is why choosing the right defense lawyer is extremely important if you were charged with shoplifting in Elizabeth New Jersey.
The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall has a team of committed defense lawyers ready to assist you in defending your Elizabeth shoplifting charge. You should also know that we have extensive experience handling theft cases in Elizabeth with a staff of former prosecutors and seasoned attorneys who possess over a century of combined experience. We have successfully defended many clients arrested for shoplifting and are ready to accomplish the same for you. Call our Union Office at 908-272-1700 to speak to a skilled attorney immediately.
Shoplifting Offense in Elizabeth New Jersey
A shoplifting offense in Elizabeth New Jersey is triggered by N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11. This law outlines six varieties of conduct that constitute shoplifting if they are undertaken with the intent of depriving a merchant of his or her property or the value thereof. A individual commits shoplifting by:
- Taking merchandise
- Concealing merchandise
- Changing the price tag of an item
- Swap or changing the box or packaging of goods
- “Under-ringing” a cash register or sales recording device; or
- Removing shopping carts from the establishment.
Shoplifting can be graded as a disorderly person’s offense or a felony, depending on the value of the goods taken. A theft of property with a value of less than $200 is a disorderly persons offense. If the property has a value of at least $200 but less than $500, the offense is a fourth degree crime. It is a third degree crime to steal merchandise with a value of at least $500 but less than $75,000. A second degree crime arises when the property stolen from the retail establish has a value of $75,000 or more. A conviction for shoplifting in Elizabeth results in the following penalties:
- Second Degree Shoplifting. Fine up to $150,000 and prison term of 5-10 years;
- Third Degree Shoplifting. Fine up to $15,000 and prison for up to 5 years;
- Fourth Degree Shoplifting. Fine up to $10,000 and prison for up to 18 months; and
- Disorderly Persons Offense. Fine up to $1,000 and county jail for up to 6 months.
A disorderly persons offenses for shoplifting (the most common shoplifting charge in New Jersey) will be handled in the Elizabeth, NJ Municipal Court, which is located at 208 Commerce Pl, Elizabeth, NJ 07201, and can be reached by telephone at 908-558-6800. An indictable shoplifting charge of the second, third or fourth degree is handled at the Union County Superior Court.
Depending on the circumstances, your attorney may be able to get the charges against you downgraded or dismissed. A first offense can usually be downgraded to a noncriminal offense which is only punishable by a small fine. Felony cases are more difficult, but can also be downgraded to less severe offenses. For instance, if the state cannot prove that you intended to leave the store without paying for the goods, or if the witness to the alleged theft (typically the merchant or an employee) never appears in court to testify against you, your lawyer may file a motion to dismiss the case and it may eventually be thrown out.
Elizabeth NJ Shoplifting Defense Attorney
If you were charged with shoplifting in Elizabeth, New Jersey, you need representation by an aggressive defense attorney who is skilled in shoplifting. At The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our lawyers have decades of experience defending retail theft charges in Union County, including both disorderly persons offenses and felony shoplifting in Elizabeth. For a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our Elizabeth, NJ shoplifting defense lawyers, call 908-272-1700. A lawyer is ready to get to work on your case immediately.