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Clark NJ Shoplifting Attorney

Charged With Shoplifting in Clark Township

We assume that you had the misfortune of being charged with shoplifting in Clark New Jersey. This is not a shock to our criminal attorneys since the town has a high volume of retail theft given the presence of stores like Target, Whole Foods, Shoprite and Marshall’s. Irrespective of where you were arrested in Clark Township for shoplifting, it is the value of the merchandise that is pivotal when it comes to your punishment and where the case will be heard. A Clark disorderly persons offense for shoplifting is heard in Clark Municipal Court and all other grades of this charge must be dealt with at the Union County Superior Court since they are felonies (i.e. indictable crime of the second degree, third degree or fourth degree). Whether the charge is more or less serious, it is always a good idea to make sure you have an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner. As former prosecutors with over 100 years of collective experience, the attorneys at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have the know-how to make sure all of the defenses available to you are properly raised so that the very best result is achieved in your Clark shoplifting case. Our lawyers have handled many shoplifting cases and are able to do everything it takes to downgrade charges and even securing dismissals in some cases. Contact our Union Office at 908-272-1700 to speak to a lawyer about your shoplifting charge now.

Shoplifting Offense in Clark

Under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11, there are six specific scenarios that give rise to a shoplifting charge in New Jersey. They are as follows:

  1. Taking Merchandise Out of a Store. A person commits shoplifting if he or she takes merchandise out of a store without paying for it and has no intention of paying for it.
  2. Hiding Merchandise. Taking something from a store shelf and hiding or concealing it in a coat, pocket, handbag, another package or elsewhere with the intention of not paying for the item is shoplifting. Under the Shoplifting law, it is presumed that you did not intend to pay for the item if you were seen hiding it. In that way, a person can commit shoplifting without even leaving the store.
  3. Changing the Price Tag. It is shoplifting if a person takes off, or switches, a price tag so that she pays less for the item than its actual price.
  4. Changing Packaging. Taking a store item from one container or package and putting it in another in order to pay less for the item is shoplifting.
  5. “Under-ring” an item. Causing a cash register, or other type of checkout device, to charge less than the actual price of the item is shoplifting.
  6. Taking a shopping cart. Stealing a shopping cart is shoplifting.

Detention by a Storekeeper. It is important to note that a store security guard or storekeeper can detain someone he has probable cause to believe is concealing merchandise in order to steal it. So, you would typically not be able to sue a storekeeper for detaining you on suspicion of shoplifting, but the detention must be done in a reasonable manner and not for longer than a reasonable time.

Common Shoplifting Venues in Clark

The majority of shoplifting charges in Clark occur at its largest retailers. The highest volume of offenses take place at:

Penalties for Shoplifting in Clark New Jersey

As you would expect, the degree of the crime hinges on the value of the item or items shoplifted. In that regard, if multiple items are shoplifted in Clark or another municipality, the relevant value is the total retail value of all of the items. Here is a breakdown of the various degrees of crimes that you can face for shoplifting in Clark New Jersey:

Second degree crime. Stealing goods or merchandise with a value of $75,000 results in a second degree shoplifting offense. The penalties for this second degree crime include 5 to 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine.

Third degree crime. The largest block of indictable shoplifting charges involve a third degree offense. It is a third degree crime to shoplift merchandise have a full retail value of at least $500 but less than $75,000. Possible sentence is 3 to 5 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Fourth degree crime. Full retail value of merchandise is between $200 and $500. Possible sentence is up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Disorderly persons offense. Full retail value of merchandise is less than $200. Possible sentence is up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Mandatory Community Service. In addition to the penalties listed above, a court is required to impose community service on anyone convicted of shoplifting. It is at least 10 days of community service for a first offense, 15 days after the second offense, and 25 days after the third and subsequent offenses. If someone is convicted three times of shoplifting, the court must also impose a term of imprisonment for at least 3 months.

Shoplifting as part of an Organized Retail Theft Enterprise. If a person is connected to any organized retail theft enterprise, where two or more people work together to sell shoplifted merchandise, then shoplifting anything worth more than $1,000 is a second-degree crime, and anything less than $1,000 is a third-degree crime.

Shoplifting Turned Robbery. Shopping can turn into a violent crime like robbery under certain circumstances. This occurs when an individual uses force to escape or fend off a clerk, under cover security, or a member of store loss prevention. Robbery is a second degree crime that carries a high probability of incarceration so you are highly encouraged to consult an attorney if you have been accused of in this manner. 

Clark Shoplifting Lawyers

Shoplifting tends to sound like a minor offense. However, depending on the value of the item or items taken, you could be faced with a lengthy prison sentence. As such, be sure to retain the services of a lawyer to help you through the process. Here at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, the eight attorneys on our defense team have depended countless shoplifting charges and are ready to put their knowledge and skill into force for you. Call us at 908-272-1700 to obtain a thorough review of your case and an insightful recommendation by an attorney at the firm. Lawyers are available immediately to assist you in a free consultation.