Shoplifting is a common crime, but that doesn’t make it any less serious. If you get caught shoplifting in New Jersey, you can face significant penalties, including jail time. Having a criminal defense and traffic violation lawyer in Camden County, like the attorneys at The Law Offices of Jason C. Pollack, P.C., can help you get the best outcome possible.
What Is Shoplifting in New Jersey?
Most people understand that taking something without paying for it is shoplifting. However, the definition in New Jersey is a little broader than that. You may have committed the crime of shoplifting if you:
- Remove any merchandise from a store without paying;
- Hide or conceal items in your clothing or bag, even if you haven’t left the premises yet;
- Alter or change a price tag or other marking to reduce the price of an item.
What Are the Penalties for Shoplifting?
Penalties for shoplifting depend on a variety of factors, including the value of the item and whether you have a record of shoplifting. First time offenders who shoplift less than $200 can face up to six months in jail, but they are often just sentenced to probation and fines. However, as the value increases, so do the penalties. If you shoplift something worth over $500, you can face between three and five years in prison. You may also face additional charges and penalties if you commit organized retail theft.
Shoplifting can also be expensive. In addition to your own fines and court fees, New Jersey law allows the retailer to pursue you for the full value of the stolen items, as well as any court fees or expenses they have to pay related to the case.
What to Do if You Get Caught Shoplifting
Due to the serious penalties you can face, defending yourself from a shoplifting charge is not a do-it-yourself situation. If you’re facing a shoplifting charge, it’s a good idea to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. When you speak to your attorney, be completely honest. Remember, your conversations with your attorney are confidential.
At The Law Offices of Jason C. Pollack, P.C., we have a criminal defense and traffic lawyer in Camden County ready to help with shoplifting charges or other legal problems. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.