Shoplifting Charge in Woodbridge Township
Woodbridge Township is a popular destination for shoppers. With over 1.5 million square feet of retail space and anchor stores like J.C. Penney, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, Sears and Boscov’s, Woodbridge Center is clearly the biggest retail stop. Common sense would dictate that the Township also experience a commensurate volume of shoplifting cases. If you were arrested in Woodbridge for shoplifting, we understand everything you are facing. Our firm is one of the largest defense firms in NJ with an office conveniently located on Wood Avenue in Woodbridge Township. A former prosecutor or other skilled criminal attorney is available for free consultation 24/7 at 732-634-0700.
Charged With Shoplifting In Violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11, a person can commit a shoplifting offense if they engage in one of essentially five prohibited acts. The first of these prohibited acts is quite obvious, it is purposely taking merchandise out of a store with the intent to deprive the owner of the value of the property. The other four primary prohibited acts are all essentially variations of this first one. Concealment, which does not require actually leaving the store with merchandise, means that the person hid the object on their person with the intent to consummate the theft regardless of whether they actually succeeded in doing so or not. Altering or transferring a price tag similarly represents an attempt to deprive the owner of the true value of the property by either removing the price tag or trying to get it to reflect a lower price than it’s owner desired. Transferring merchandise to another container is essentially the same premise as concealment, meaning that through hiding the object in another container, the accused had the intent of depriving the owner of the value of the property. The last primary form of shoplifting is under-ringing merchandise. This last form, like all the other forms, is an attempt to deprive the owner of the true value of the property by intentionally ringing it up for less than it is worth.
Penalties If Convicted of a Woodbridge Shoplifting Offense
The penalties for shoplifting are different depending on the value of the merchandise stolen. For thefts less than $200, shoplifting is a disorderly persons offense. An individual can be fined up to $1,000 and placed in the county jail for six (6) months in Woodbridge Municipal Court. When the value of the goods is $200 but less than $500, a conviction for shoplifting is a fourth degree offense. Indictable crimes like this can only be decided at the Middlesex County Superior Court. A fourth degree shoplifting can result in a $10,000 fine and up to 18 months of incarceration. Third degree shoplifting, that which applies where $500 someone steals $500 or more in merchandise, can result in 5 years in prison and a $15,000 fine. The court must impose at least 10, 15 and 25 days of community service for a first, second and third offense, respectively. There is also a mandatory minimum period in jail/prison of 90 days that applies where someone is convicted of a third of subsequent shoplifting offense.
Woodbridge NJ Township Shoplifting Attorney
It should be clear that it is foolish to take a shoplifting charge lightly. You stand a real chance of incarceration if you are convicted and the impact of the criminal record resulting from this outcome can often be immeasurable. It is certainly in your best interests to, at a minimum, speak to an attorney about your options. There may be valid defenses to the offense or you may be eligible for Pretrial Intervention or Conditional Dismissal. Irrespective, our Woodbridge Shoplifting attorneys are available for consultation free of charge. Call us anytime at 732-623-0700.