Springfield NJ Shoplifting Attorney
Shoplifting Charge in the Township of Springfield
Shoplifting may seem like a minor offense but the truth is that a conviction for retail theft in Springfield NJ results in heavy monetary fines, a criminal record, and even the possibility of incarceration. You therefore want to consider obtaining the services of a skilled attorney before attempting to handle a shoplifting charge. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have years of experience defending clients charged with shoplifting in Union County, including those arrested in the Township of Springfield. The Marshall Firm has a team of accomplished trial attorneys who are well-versed in all shoplifting defenses and can formulate a legal strategy to secure a downgrade or dismissal. Even if you are unsure about obtaining a lawyer, an initial consultation with the members of our firm are free. Contact us today at 908-272-1700 for the assistance you need.
Springfield Shoplifting Offense
A Springfield shoplifting offense can arise under six circumstances under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11 of New Jersey law. Each and every variety of shoplifting contemplates an attempt or actually taking of merchandise without compensation. This occurs when an individual engages in:
- Taking merchandise out of a store with no intention of paying;
- Hiding or concealing merchandise;
- Changing or removing the price tag of an item;
- Changing an item’s packaging or box 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 (i.e. under-ringing); or
- Stealing a shopping cart.
Shoplifting Penalties. The sentence for a shoplifting conviction is tied to the value of what was shoplifted. Note that if multiple items are stolen, the relevant value for sentencing purposes is the aggregate value of all of the items together.
- If the full retail value of the item(s) shoplifted is $75,000 or more, then the shoplifting charge is a second degree crime punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $150,000;
- If the full retail value is between $500 and $75,000, then shoplifting is a third degree crime that carries 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000;
- If the full retail value is between $200 and $500, then an offense for shoplifting is a fourth degree crime that results in up to 18 months in prison and up to a $10,000 fine;
- If the full retail value is less than $200, then it is a disorderly persons offense, carrying a possible 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Jurisdiction. All Springfield shoplifting charges involving a second degree, third degree or fourth degree crime fall under the jurisdiction of the Union County Superior Court which is located in Elizabeth. Your case will be heard in Springfield Municipal Court if it involves a disorderly persons offense.
Community Service. In addition to the above, a court will order at least 10 days of community service for a first offense, 15 days for a second offense, and 25 days for a third and any subsequent offense. Imprisonment of at least 3 months is mandatory if you are convicted of shoplifting three times.
Legality of a shopkeeper detaining a possible shoplifter. It is legal for a security guard or shopkeeper to detain someone if there is probable cause to believe someone is concealing merchandise in order to steal it. The detention must be done in a reasonable manner and over a reasonable amount of time.
Participation in an “Organized Retail Theft Enterprise.” When two or more people working together to sell shoplifted items, that is called an “organized retail theft enterprise.” If someone shoplifts anything more than $1,000 while being part of an organized retail theft enterprise, it is a second-degree crime.
Springfield Shoplifting Defense Lawyer
Don’t let the title “shoplifting” fool you into thinking that the charge is minor. As you can see above, shoplifting can land you in jail and, even when it does not, it nevertheless results in a record for stealing. This is something that can have a substantial negative impact on your future and this is good reason to hire a savvy defense lawyer to defend your Springfield shoplifting offense. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall has a staff of seasoned attorneys that include former prosecutors with over 100 years of combined experience. The lawyers at our firm can help you avoid having a shoplifting charge dramatically change your life. Call 908-272-1700 for a free initial consultation. A lawyer in our office is standing by to help.