New Jersey Shoplifting Attorney – N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11
In the State of New Jersey, shoplifting is a criminal offense that can result in the imposition of significant fines and a term of incarceration (jail). The severity of a shoplifting charge depends, exclusively, on the value of property or items allegedly shoplifted or misappropriated by a defendant. For example, if the value of the property 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 that matter will be heard by a Municipal Court Judge at the Municipal Court level. It should be noted, that the offense of shoplifting is still considered a criminal offense even-though it is prosecuted at the Municipal Court level.
The New Jersey Law: 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 itself 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 otherwords, 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.
Effects of a Conviction on Your Record
If you are convicted of or plead guilty to shoplifting then you will have a criminal record with the State of New Jersey. Such a criminal record will be maintained by the New Jersey State police and is public information. In other words, private companies or individuals looking into your background will be able to see that you have been convicted or were found guilty of shoplifting.