Shoplifting is the crime of purposely taking merchandise and attempting to carry it away, concealing merchandise for the purpose of depriving the merchant of its value, altering labels to manipulate the value of merchandise, or under-ringing the value of merchandise.
Like most theft crimes, the penalties are directly related to the quantity or value of things taken, so stealing a pack of gum from a convenience store is not the same as stealing a car from an auto dealership.
If you are alleged to have stolen goods worth less than $200, you will be charged with a Disorderly Persons Offense, carrying a maximum penalty of six months in jail.
If you are a first offender, you benefit from the presumption of non-incarceration and shouldn’t go to jail.
When the value of goods taken is between $200-$500 dollars, you will be charged with a Fourth Degree crime, which carries a sentence of up to 18 months, though again, New Jersey would prefer not to incarcerate with no criminal history.
Shoplifting in the Third Degree spans a huge value – $500-$75,000 – and can put you away for three to five years in state prison.
A Second Degree Shoplifting charge means that the value of stolen goods exceeded $75,000, and there is simply no question that you need legal help.
To avoid a 5-10 year sentence upon conviction, call attorney Matthew Reisig at 732-625-9661 and learn how to fight the charges against you.