New Jersey Shoplifting Charges Lawyer
As in other jurisdictions, Shoplifting is a crime in New Jersey. Many shoplifting cases are resolved in the lower, Municipal Court. Shoplifting (Retail Theft) is an escalating offense, so if you are charged with multiple instances of shoplifting, or the amount is high enough, you can be charged with an indictable offense in Superior Court.
The best-case scenario is to be charged with shoplifting in municipal court only. This type of shoplifting charge is called a “disorderly persons offense.” If you are charged with an indictable offense, your penalties can be much greater, as a 1st through 4th degree crime in New Jersey is generally considered a felony in other states and is the equivalent of a felony.
Disorderly Persons – Municipal Court Shoplifting Case
If you are charged in municipal court, there are a range of possible ways for you to come out of the experience relatively unscathed. First, an attorney can help you get your charge downgraded to a municipal ordinance (non-criminal) that will spare you a criminal record. Most municipal ordinances are non-criminal in nature, and as such do not show up on employer background checks.
Second, an experienced attorney can fight the case. Many shoplifting cases have video and photographic evidence, such as surveillance videos. However, in order for the surveillance video to be introduced at trial against you, it needs to be authenticated by a record keeper. This can be a complicated procedure, and many things can go wrong for the prosecution, such as the wrong loss prevention officer appearing in court, the video not being stored properly, and other issues that can be used to defeat its introduction against you. Even videos that are introduced by the prosecution to prove their case may not accurately identify you and therefore you could fight the case at trial.
Superior Court Shoplifting Cases
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being charged in Superior Court, Pretrial Intervention (PTI) is available to you. This is a program for first time offenders where your charges can be dismissed once you complete the program. In addition to PTI, you can also fight the case with the assistance of an experienced attorney by using many of the same tactics used in a municipal court case.
Civil Penalties for Shoplifting
In addition to criminal prosecution, a civil penalty of up to $150.00 can be brought against a person stealing from a store. The store can recover for any damage or property loss up to $500.00. If a store uses an attorney to sue against you, the store can also get attorneys fees. All of this is in addition to any criminal penalties you might face.
Shoplifting Charges Lawyer New Jersey
Call The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. today for a free consultation. The Criminal Defense Attorneys at The Law Offices of Greg Prosmuhskin, P.C. have decades of experience handling criminal cases, including shoplifting specifically, in both Municipal Courts and New Jersey Superior Court. Call us today.
This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.