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Union County NJ Criminal Defense Lawyers

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Westfield NJ Shoplifting Attorney

Charged With Shoplifting in Westfield New Jersey

Westfield has a great downtown with many retail shops. This creates far greater opportunity for shoplifting charges than most municipalities in Union County. The Westfield Police are aware of this circumstance and are keen on enforcing the law when it comes to individuals charged with shoplifting in the town. If you were arrested for taking an item off of a shelf and concealing it, creating to swap price tags or anything else that resulted in a Westfield shoplifting charge, you need to take this offense seriously. A conviction for retail theft in Westfield will not only expose you to a criminal record for stealing but also the possibility of incarceration. This should be ample reason for you to take the time to find a knowledgeable attorney to defend your shoplifting offense.

At the Law Offices of Jonathan F.  Marshall, we possess a team of knowledgeable lawyers to help you with your case. Over the last several decades, we have handled just about any scenario for shoplifting that you can imagine. If you would like to speak to an attorney that not only know his away around Westfield Municipal Court and the Union County Superior Court but also the most effective strategies for securing a dismissal or downgrade. A lawyer at the firm will sound legal advice before your having to incur a penny in legal fees. For an immediate free consultation with one of the attorneys at the Marshall Law Firm, call 908-272-1700.

Springfield Shoplifting Offense

New Jersey statute N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11 identifies six ways in which someone may commit the offense of shoplifting. You can be convicted of shoplifting in Westfield Municipal Court or at the Union County Superior Court in Elizabeth if you:

  1. Taking merchandise out of a store with no intention of paying for it.
  2. Taking something off of a shelf and hiding it in clothing or a bag. Here, a court will presume that your intention in hiding the item was to leave the store without paying for it.
  3. Changing a price tag to make an item appear to be worth less than the actual price.
  4. Changing the packaging of an item to make it appear to be less than the actual price.
  5. “Under-ringing” an item, i.e., causing an item to appear cheaper when checking out.
  6. Stealing a shopping cart. (Yes, stealing a shopping cart is charged as a form of shoplifting.)

If a shopkeeper or store security guard detains you because he or she believes that you hid something in order to take it without paying, they are legally able to detain you. However, the way they detain you and the length of the detention must be reasonable.

Possible Sentences for Shoplifting. The key to any sentence for shoplifting is the value of the item, or items, taken. For purposes of sentencing, the total of all items taken will be the operative retail value if multiple items are taken. This chart explains the penalties based on the value of items shoplifted:

Retail Value of Merchandise Degree of Offense Penalties
$75,000 or more Second Degree Crime 5 – 10 years in prison
Up to $150,000 in fines
At least $500 but less than $75,000 Third Degree Crime 3 – 5 years in prison
Up to $15,000 in fines
At least $200 but less than $500 Fourth Degree Crime Up to 18 months in prison
Up to $10,000 in fines
Less than $200 Disorderly Persons Offense Up to 6 months in jail
Up to $1,000 in fines

Additional Required Penalties. In addition to whatever sentence the court imposes based on the above chart, a court is also required to impose a minimum of 10 days community service for a first shoplifting offense. The amount of community service increases for every subsequent offense. Also, the court is required to impose a sentence of at least 3 months in jail for anyone who has been convicted of three or more shoplifting offenses. Finally, you should know that if you are charged with shoplifting as part of an organized effort with others to later sell the shoplifted items, there are enhanced penalties.

Westfield Shoplifting Defense Lawyer

As you can see from what has been discussed, failure to avoid a finding of guilt for shoplifting can have significant ramifications to your life. The accomplished attorneys on our staff will work tirelessly to insure that this does not occur. To learn what a defense lawyer on our team can do to assist you in averting a conviction, contact our office anytime 24/7 . An attorney is ready to conduct a thorough review of your case and plot a course of action to provide the greatest chance of an acquittal. Call 908-272-1700 now to speak to one of our lawyers.