Shoplifting explained by Monmouth County Shoplifting Attorney
Our Monmouth County Criminal Attorneys can tell you that New Jersey’s Shoplifting statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11, enumerates six different ways in which a person can commit shoplifting.

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Shoplifting explained by Monmouth County Shoplifting Attorney

Our Monmouth County Criminal Attorneys can tell you that New Jersey’s Shoplifting statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11, enumerates six different ways in which a person can commit shoplifting.

First, shoplifting takes place when a person purposely takes merchandise from a store with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of its possession, use or benefit. In simple terms this means take the merchandise with the intent of not paying for it.

A second way shoplifting takes place is when a person enters a store and purposely conceals (i.e.,stuff merchandise down ones pants) an item with the intent to take it from the store without paying for it. Furthermore, if someone conceals an item on their person before paying for it (and without necessarily leaving the store), there will be a presumption ,at trial, that the person intended to take the merchandise without paying for it. This presumption creates a further hurdle in defending the case because it is now the burden of the defendant’s lawyer to prove that the defendant did not have the intent to steal the merchandise. Why is that important? Usually the presumption in criminal cases rests with the prosecution which is required to prove the defendant’s intent.

Third, shoplifting takes place when a person transfers, removes, or somehow alters a price tag (i.e., taking a price tag from a lower priced item and placing it on an item with a greater value) with the intention of not paying the proper amount for the merchandise.

Fourth, shoplifting takes place when a person purposely puts merchandise in a container (i.e., putting an expensive watch in a larger box containing different merchandise) with the intent to not pay full value for it.

Fifth way shoplifting occurs is when a store worker purposely under-rings (i.e. charges $5 for $10 worth of merchandise) merchandise to that the buyer pays less than the proper price. Of course the prosecution must prove that the employee working the register intended to permanently deprive the store when they under-rang the item, and that it was not an honest mistake. The final way that shoplifting takes place is by purposely taking one of the stores shopping carts from its premises with the stores consent with the intent of depriving the store of said cart.

Our Monmouth County Criminal Lawyers have successfully handled Shoplifting cases. If you have a pending Shoplifting charge contact a Monmouth County Criminal Lawyer at Riviere Cresci & Singer LLC. (732)-646-5529

Where a shopkeeper reasonably believes that a customer is stealing merchandise, they are afforded certain rights including detaining a shopper the suspects of theft. In a situation where a shopkeeper, loss prevention, or security guard has probable cause to believe someone has shoplifted and has concealed items on their person, the shopkeeper can detain the shoplifter. Probable cause requires the shopkeeper to have a reasonable basis to believe that a theft has actually occurred. Additionally, the theft must have occurred in front of the shopkeeper. This the shopkeepers right to detain must done in a reasonable manner including, using only reasonable force and detaining the person for a reasonable time period which necessary to determine whether the person has the suspected items .

An example would be if a shopkeeper believes he/she saw a customer putting an item under his/her shirt and the shopkeeper then detains that person and finds that there is nothing under the shirt, the shopkeeper must release the customer. If the shopkeeper uses excessive force or holds the customer for longer than reasonable, the shopkeeper will not be immune from civil or criminal liability for the detention, and may be charged with false imprisonment.

The penalties for shoplifting are graded (full grading and penalties are shown below) depending on the price of the merchandise. The price is determined based on its reasonable market value at the time the merchandise was shoplifted. A skillful Ocean County attorney at Riviere Cresci & Singer LLC may attempt to defend a shoplifting case is by proving to the jury or making the argument to the prosecutor that the reasonable value of the merchandise was less than is alleged in the criminal complaint and therefore warrants a lower charge.

Shoplifting Penalties Grading

Under the new law, the grading of shoplifting is based on the full retail value of the merchandise taken. Consequently, shoplifting shall be charged in accordance with the full retail value of the merchandise taken, as provided in N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11. Under the statute, shoplifting offenses are graded as follows:

Shoplifting is a crime of the second degree if the full retail value of the merchandise was $75,000.00 or more. N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11c(1). A crime of the second degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment of five to 10 years(N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6a(2)), a fine not to exceed $150,000.00,or both (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-3a(2)).

Shoplifting is a crime of the third degree if the full retail value of the merchandise exceeds $500.00 but is less than $75,000.00. N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11c(2). A crime of the third degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment of three to five years (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6a(3)), a fine not to exceed $15,000.00, or both (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-3b(1)).

Shoplifting is a crime of the fourth degree if the full retail value of the merchandise was at least $200.00 but does not exceed $500.00. N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11c(3). A crime of the fourth degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment not to exceed 18 months (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6a(4)), a fine not to exceed $10,000 or both (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-3b(2)).

Shoplifting is a disorderly persons offense if the full retail value of the merchandise was less than $200.00. N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11c(4). A disorderly persons offense is punishable by a term of imprisonment not to exceed six months (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-8), a fine not to exceed $1,000 or both (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-3c).

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