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Summit NJ Shoplifting Lawyer

Shoplifting Charge in the City of Summit

Two years ago a Summit woman made shoplifting news throughout the State. She was caught on video shoplifting a backpack and the owner of the store posted the video on Facebook. The video was later used to arrest the Summit resident on another shoplifting charge. We assume that you too have been charged with shoplifting in Summit or elsewhere in Union County given that you have landed on this page If so, you should obtain the services of an accomplished shoplifting lawyer. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are seasoned shoplifting advocates who can help you minimize the impact of your charge in Summit Municipal Court at the Union County Superior Court in Elizabeth. Call us at 908-272-1700 to speak to an attorney who has successfully defended countless shoplifting cases. The first consultation with one of our lawyers is free. We are available to speak with you anytime day or night.

Charged With Shoplifting in Summit New Jersey

What is considered shoplifting? The classic idea of shoplifting – taking an item from a store shelf and leaving the store without paying for it – is clearly an act of shoplifting under New Jersey statute N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11. In addition to that, however, there are five other acts that are considered shoplifting under the statute. They are as follows:

• Taking something from a store shelf and hiding it in a coat, pocket, handbag, or elsewhere with the intention of not paying for it. (Note: it is presumed that if you hide an item, then you do not intend to pay for it).
• Taking off, or switching, a price tag to pay less for the item.
• Taking a store item from one package and putting it in another in order to pay less.
• Causing a cash register, or other type of checkout device, to charge less than the actual price of the item.
• Stealing a shopping cart.

Is it false imprisonment for a storekeeper to detain you in the store? No, as long as (i) the storekeeper or store security guard has probable cause to believe that you hid something in order to steal it, and (ii) the detention is handled in a reasonable manner and not for longer than a reasonable time. If the storekeeper does any more than necessary to keep you in the store until the police arrive, then you may have a cause of action against the storekeeper.

How serious is shoplifting punishment-wise? The seriousness of a shoplifting offense depends on the value of the item, or items, that were taken.

• If the full retail value of all of the items shoplifted is $75,000 or more, then it is a Second-degree offense, which carries a possible 5 to 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine.
• If the full retail value is between $500 and $75,000, then it is a Third-degree offense, which carries a possible 3 to 5 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
• If the full retail value is between $200 and $500, then it is a Fourth-degree offense, which carries a possible 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.
• Finally, if the full retail value is less than $200, then it is a Disorderly persons offense, which carries a possible 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. (This type of case is handled in Summit Municipal Court.)

As the above list shows, shoplifting an expensive cell phone could lead to 3 to 5 years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.

Do I have to do community service? Yes, community service is mandatory for shoplifting. A first offense of shoplifting means you do at least 10 days of community service. It becomes 15 days after the second offense, and 25 days after the third and subsequent offenses. A third conviction for shoplifting also means a mandatory term of imprisonment of at least 3 months.

Summit Shoplifting Defense Attorney

Shoplifting sounds like a relatively minor offense. However, shoplifting just one item can lead to a criminal record for stealing and incarceration.  This can derail your future employment or severely impact your life. Hiring a skilled defense attorney can make all the difference in averting ramifications such as those described. The lawyers that make up the team at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are skilled litigators that have decades of experience practicing in Garwood and other venues in Union County. Call 908-272-1700 for a free initial consultation with a lawyer immediately. Our lawyers are standing by to discuss your shoplifting case without obligation.