What Happens if You Are Caught Shoplifting in New Jersey?

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If you have been accused of shoplifting, please read on, then contact an experienced Mercer County theft lawyer to learn what happens when you are caught shoplifting in New Jersey.

What are the penalties for shoplifting in New Jersey?

In the Garden State, the degree of the theft crime will usually be determined by the value of the stolen items. In most cases, the penalties break down as follows:

  • The amount stolen is less than $200: A disorderly person’s offense, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • The amount stolen is between $200 and $500: A crime in the fourth degree, punishable by up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • The amount stolen is between $500 and $75,000: A crime in the third degree, punishable with between 3 and 5 years in a New Jersey State Penitentiary and a fine of up to $15,000.
  • The amount stolen exceeds $75,000: A second-degree crime, punishable with between 5 to ten years in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $150,000.

Chances are you probably have not stolen items valued in excess of $75,000, but keep in mind that Garden State prosecutors may aggregate the amount. In other words, they may add together the amounts so long as they were committed pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct, in order to upgrade your charges and the potential penalties you face. That is why it is absolutely essential that you reach out to a skilled Mercer County criminal defense lawyer to discuss your next steps and help prepare a strong defense.

How can you defend against shoplifting charges?

As it so happens, you may have a number of possible strategies to employ in your defense. For starters, your seasoned criminal defense lawyer may challenge the prosecution’s assertion that you, the alleged shoplifter, intended to steal an item. Next, he might cast doubt on what a security guard, or another witness, claims to have seen, and question the validity of video surveillance used to substantiate the charges. No witness, electronic or human, is entirely infallible and, thus, they may have mistakenly identified you. Such mistakes are not uncommon, but the prosecution will not be inclined to admit that possibility. This is why you should not hesitate to give us a call today.


Here at the Law Office of Douglas Herring, we believe that everyone accused of a crime is entitled to due process. No one facing a criminal matter should proceed without a competent attorney on their side. We are here to listen to your case, determine the best strategy going forward, and fight for your rights. Contact us today so we can get started. 

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