New Jersey Shoplifting – NJSA 2C:20-11
In the State of New Jersey, shoplifting is a criminal offense that if found guilty can result in significant fines and a term of incarceration. The severity of a shoplifting charge depends on the value of property or items allegedly shoplifted by a defendant. For example, if the value of the property alleged to have been shoplifted exceeds $200.00, then the shoplifting case will be heard in Superior Court because it can be a felony of the 4th degree or higher. However, if the value of the property alleged to have been shoplifted is less then $200.00, then the case will be heard by a Municipal Court Judge at the Municipal Court level. The offense of shoplifting is still considered a criminal offense even-though it is prosecuted at the Municipal Court level.
The NJ Law: N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11
N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11 provides that Shoplifting consists of taking possession of merchandise with the intention of depriving the merchant or shopkeeper of its benefit. In fact, a person can be found guilty of shoplifting by having an “intention” of depriving a shopkeeper of the benefit or use of a particular product/merchandise or piece of property. If a person alters a particular piece of merchandise in anyway, that is considered shoplifting. A person does not have to leave the shopkeeper’s premises in order to be found guilty of the crime of shoplifting. In other words, the Statute is very broad and encompasses a host of events that do not necessary fit the common laymen’s definition of Shoplifting. As such, a person defending a shoplifting charge must review the whole Statue in its entirety prior to making any sort of representations of defense theories of not guilty.
How a Conviction of Shoplifting Can Effect You
If you are convicted of or plead guilty to shoplifting then you will have a criminal record with the State of New Jersey. This criminal record will be public information and companies or individuals looking doing a background check on you will be able to see that you have been convicted or were found guilty of shoplifting.
The Law Firm of Richard Huizenga can help
If you are accused of shoplifting in NJ, you are facing serious penalties, including fines and possible jail. Call the Law Firm of Richard Huizenga at (732) 500-4688 for a free consultation.