Cranford Shoplifting Lawyer
Charged With Shoplifting in Cranford New Jersey
Shoplifting may not be the most serious criminal offense you can face in Cranford or at the Union County Superior Court but the consequences of a conviction can have a significant impact on your life. Failure to avoid a guilty finding results in a record for stealing, fines and even the possibility of incarceration. If you are not a United States citizen, it can jeopardize your immigration status and lead to you being deported.
The good news is that most of the time a conviction for shoplifting is entirely preventable. With the right attorney and the right defense strategy, a trial and conviction can be avoided, or a trial can be fought and won.
The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall has a team of accomplished criminal defense lawyers that have over a century of experience, including time serving as county and municipal prosecutors. A lawyer at our firm has the ability to provide you with the best chance of putting a Cranford shoplifting charge behind you without long-term damage. Contact us at 908-272-1700 today for a free, no obligation consultation.
Shoplifting Offense in Cranford
Generally speaking, shoplifting describes an act of theft from a retail store or some other type of business establishment. N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11 defines shoplifting as purposely and intentionally taking merchandise from a store or mercantile establishment without paying the full retail value for it and by any of the following means:
- Changing the label, price tags, or packaging;
- “Under-ringing” a cash register or sales recording device; or
- Colluding with an employee who will sell you the goods for less than their full retail value.
Depending on the facts of the case and the value of the property taken by the accused, an act of shoplifting may be charged as a disorderly persons offense (a misdemeanor) or a fourth degree crime, a third degree crime or a second degree crime.
Disorderly Persons Offense. Shoplifting is a disorderly persons offense punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 where the value of the goods stolen is less than $200.
Fourth Degree Crime. Shoplifting is a fourth degree crime punishable by up to 18 months of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000 where the value of the goods is at least $200 but less than $500.
Third Degree Crime. Shoplifting is a third degree crime punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000 where the value of the merchandise is at least $500 but less than $75,000.
Second Degree Crime. Shoplifting is a second degree crime punishable by 5-10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000 where the value of the goods taken is more than $75,000.
A third conviction for shoplifting will be subject to a mandatory jail sentence of 60-90 days, regardless of how the offense is graded. In addition, a shoplifting conviction may also require you to provide restitution to the merchant by either returning the goods or paying the merchant full retail value.
To prove the crime of shoplifting, the prosecution must be able to establish the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) you deprived or attempted to deprive the merchant of the goods without paying the full retail value; and (2) your conduct was intentional. The State of New Jersey will attempt to prove a charge of shoplifting through a variety of methods, including:
- The testimony of loss prevention officers;
- Video surveillance footage that was taken from inside the store;
- Testimony of independent witness (if any);
- Your own admission;
- Testimony of any co-defendants; and
- The introduction into evidence of the stolen objects
There are many defenses to contest a shoplifting charge in New Jersey, as well as, a variety of other ways to resolve the case without the necessity of a conviction. For first offenders, our attorneys can usually get the charges downgraded to a noncriminal event with a small fine. Felony cases are more difficult, but can also be downgraded to a less severe offense, especially where there is an issue with the value of the goods taken.
Cranford Shoplifting Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one has been charged with shoplifting in Cranford, New Jersey, hiring the right defense lawyer is essential to your protecting your future. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can offer representation from one of the state’s largest criminal teams. Our attorneys also have over a century practicing in Cranford Municipal Court, as well as the Union County Superior Court located in Elizabeth. There is little doubt that an attorney with the skills you need is here at our firm. To speak to one of the lawyers anytime 24/7, contact our office at 908-272-1700.