Shoplifting Attorney in Mercer County

Lawrence NJ Shoplifting Lawyer

Shoplifting is a serious offense in New Jersey, one that the court system does not take lightly. If you have been accused of shoplifting in Mercer County, in towns like LawrenceEast WindsorWest WindsorHamiltonPrinceton or Robbinsville, the Keith Oliver Criminal Law  can help. As you will see below, shoplifting can be either a second, third or fourth degree felony or a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor). The penalties that one faces if convicted of shoplifting could include incarceration, probation, high fines, restitution, civil penalty, criminal record and community service. In addition to that, if the Defendant is not a United States Citizen, they could face deportation proceeding since shoplifting has been determined to be a “crime of moral turpitude”.

Speak to a Shoplifting Defense Attorney in West Windsor Today

If you or loved one has been charged with shoplifting in Mercer County it is imperative that you speak to an experienced New Jersey shoplifting defense attorneys about your options. As you will see below, if convicted of certain shoplifting offenses, a Defendant could be facing up to ten (10) years in a New Jersey State Prison. Keith Oliver Criminal Law represents clients accused of shoplifting, theft by deception, receiving stolen propertyburglary, trespassing, theft and robbery in Mercer County. If you would like to discuss your options with one of the members of our team then please contact us at (609)789-0779. Our attorneys have handled thousands of shoplifting cases over the years and know exactly how to attack these types of cases. For more information on the offense of shoplifting, including what the difference between a second degree shoplifting and a disorderly persons offense shoplifting.

What to Know About How Shoplifting Cases are Handled in Mercer County NJ

Shoplifting is by far one of the most common charges issued in towns like Lawrenceville, Hamilton, West Windsor and East Windsor. The governing statute in New Jersey for shoplifting is N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11. Although the offense of shoplifting sounds straight forward, the statute was enacted to cover a variety of different types of unlawful conduct. It is also one of the few hybrid offenses in New Jersey. Meaning that a Defendant could be facing either a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor) or an indictable offense (felony). The dollar amount alleged will be the sole fact that determines whether the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. In other words, the defendant’s prior criminal record is irrelevant. The degree of the charge will also dictate what Court will have jurisdiction to preside over case. All felony level shoplifting cases will be litigated in the Mercer County Superior Court, which is located in the City of Trenton. On the other hand, all disorderly persons offense shoplifting matters will be ligated in the local municipal court in the municipality where the incident happened.

What the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to convict someone of shoplifting in Mercer County

  • That the Defendant purposely: took possession of; or carried away; or caused to be carried away; or transferred any merchandise that was displayed or held for sale by the victim; &
  • The victim was a store or retail establishment; &
  • The Defendant did so with the underlying purpose to deprive the victim of the merchandise without paying the full value of said merchandise.

In layman terms, the State must prove that the Defendant took possession of certain merchandise with the underlying purpose to deprive the store of the merchandise, without paying full value for it. When it comes to “possession”, the State can attempt to prove possession in various different ways, including actual possession, constructive possession and joint possession. This allows the prosecution to attempt to prove a shoplifting charges even if the merchandise in question wasn’t physically on the Defendant at the time they were stopped. This is why you need to speak to an experienced Mercer County shoplifting defense lawyer about your options.

Some of the most common towns in Mercer County that we defend clients accused of shoplifting in are as follows:

Can I be Charged with Shoplifting and Robbery?

In addition, it is important to note here, that all too often, a shoplifting situation is quickly escalated into a robbery situation. If ANY force whatsoever is used in the commission of the shoplifting offense, a Defendant will most likely be charged with robbery. The degree of the force could be as simple as a pulling away from security or a shove of a store personnel in the attempt to flee the scene. This will make an already bad situation much worse. This type of robbery would be a second degree felony and if convicted, a Defendant would be facing anywhere from 5 to 10 years in a New Jersey State Prison. Furthermore, robbery falls under the No Early Release Act which requires a Defendant to serve at least 85 % of their sentence before they could become eligible for parole. For more information on how to defend a robbery charge please visit our robbery practice series at the link provided.

What are the Penalties for Shoplifting in NJ?

As touched upon above, shoplifting can be either a secondthird or fourth degree felony or a disorderly persons offense. The difference between the degrees will depend sole on the value of the items in question. Here is a breakdown in not only the degrees but the potential penalties as well.

Second Degree Shoplifting

  • Value of the merchandise was over $75,000
  • 5 to 10 years in a State Prison;
  • Presumption of Imprisonment
  • Up to a $150,000 fine;
  • Community Service;
  • Felony Criminal Record.

Third Degree Shoplifting

  • Value of the merchandise was over $500 but less than $75,000
  • 3 to 5  years in a State Prison;
  • Presumption against Imprisonment – provided no record
  • Up to a $15,000 fine;
  • Community Service;
  • Felony Criminal Record.

Fourth Degree Shoplifting

  • Value of the merchandise was over $200 but less than $500
  • Up to 18 Months in a State Prison;
  • Presumption against Imprisonment – provided no record –
  • Up to a $10,000 fine;
  • Community Service;
  • Felony Criminal Record.

Disorderly Persons Offense Shoplifting

  • Value of the merchandise was less than $200
  • Up to 6 Months in the Mercer County Jail;
  • Up to a $1,000 fine;
  • Community Service;
  • Criminal Record.

Ways to Avoid Jail Time on a Shoplifting Charge in New Jersey

In addition to the potential penalties above, a Defendant convicted of a third or subsequent shoplifting offense would be required to serve at least 90 days in the Mercer County Jail. With all that being said, New Jersey has created several diversionary programs which, if applicable, could allow a Defendant to walk away from these charges without a criminal record let alone without serving a day in jail. They include the Pretrial Intervention Program, Conditional Dismissal Program and Drug Court. For more information on these programs, please contact our office at (609)789-0779.

Talk to a Robbinsville NJ Shoplifting Defense Attorney Today

As you can see from reading above, shoplifting is a very serious offense. One that requires the assistance of an experienced Mercer County criminal defense attorney. If you have been charged with shoplifting, burglary, trespassing, theft, theft by deception, aggravated assault or robbery in Mercer County, we can help. Our office appears in courts throughout Mercer County including the Mercer County Superior Courthouse, the East Windsor Municipal Court, the Ewing Municipal Court, the Lawrenceville Municipal Court, the Princeton Municipal Court and the Robbinsville Municipal Court. If you would like to discuss your options with one of our attorneys then please contact us at (609)789-0779.