Berkeley Township Shoplifting Attorney

Charged with Shoplifting in Berkeley Township NJ?

Berkeley Township is located in beautiful Ocean County, New Jersey. Shopping in and around the township is often a task or favorite thing to do by many. Residents and visitors from nearby towns such as Ocean Township, Pine Beach, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park, or South Toms River come here for a variety of reasons. Some stop by for rest and relaxation on White Sands Beach in South Seaside Park, while others are here to do a little shopping. If you come here to shop and you or anyone you are with fails to pay for the full value of an item, you could be charged with a theft crime. In many cases, the police will arrest anyone who is with the suspected shoplifter, even if they had nothing to do with the crime. This charge is known as conspiracy to commit shoplifting. Although it may seem like a minor offense, the sentences imposed for shoplifting can be harsh for those convicted, regardless of the degree of crime charged. If you or someone you love has been accused of shoplifting in Berkeley NJ, make sure to speak with a knowledgeable Berkeley Township theft defense lawyer at our firm who can help. We at William Proetta Criminal Law have successfully defended scores of clients facing shoplifting charges in Municipal and Superior Courts throughout Ocean County, preparing us to devise and execute your best defense. Please feel free to contact us at (848) 238-2100 to speak with an attorney free of charge now.

Berkeley Township Shoplifting Defense Lawyer

The crime of shoplifting is not limited to people in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s or those suffering from drug dependency, unemployment, or being economically disadvantaged. Often, those accused of shoplifting are just kids trying to fit in or helping a friend out by taking him or her to the store. Unfortunately, the police do not care what your story is or your son or daughter’s reasons for being at the store. In fact, the Berkeley Township Police will charge anyone associated with the crime if there is any trace of evidence of shoplifting. We often see young adults/kids from Central Regional High School who are charged with shoplifting. The populace of the High School includes students from sending districts such as Island Heights, Seaside Park, Ocean Gate and Seaside Heights. Having been criminal defense lawyers for clients in Berkeley Township and throughout Ocean County for our entire careers, we are highly familiar with each of these towns and know what to do if a teen or adult is charged with shoplifting. Depending on the defendant’s age, these cases may be handled in different court venues.

Acts of Shoplifting in Berkeley, New Jersey

Specifically, the police can charge any adult over the age of 18 or juvenile with the crime of shoplifting. This charge is addressed in section N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11. As is often the case, someone will be charged with a disorderly persons offense for shoplifting goods valued at less than $200. Law enforcement can also charge a person with conspiracy to commit shoplifting if it is alleged that he or she acted in concert with anyone else committing a shoplifting offense. This can happen even if the accused is just hanging out with friends and not committing any overt acts of shoplifting, but is present at the time of the alleged crime. Conspiracy is the same degree of charge as the actual shoplifting event. While it sounds complex, conspiracy simply means that you took one step in furtherance of shoplifting with one or more people. Therefore, if you, or your son or daughter simply drove someone to the store knowing that another would shoplift, everyone present can be charged. Also, if you waited outside while the person went in and shoplifted, acted as a look out, helped push the cart, distracted staff, or returned a stolen item for cash, you can be charged with a criminal violation.

Additionally, shoplifting or conspiracy to commit shoplifting can be alleged when any person is alleged to have:

  1. Under-rang an item
  2. Stole a shopping cart
  3. Concealed an item under clothing
  4. Changed containers
  5. Switched price tags
  6. Left the store without paying for merchandise.

Courts that Handle Berkeley Township Shoplifting Cases

Anyone over the age of 18 will go to Berkeley Township Municipal Court or Ocean County Superior Court if they have been accused of shoplifting within the town. It makes no difference whether the shoplifting occurred at Berkeley Plaza, ShopRite, Dollar Tree, or another retail enterprise. For juveniles below age 18, the court is delineated according to their county of residence, not the location where they were charged. Even if the alleged shoplifting occurs at Ocean County Mall just outside of town, teens under the age of 18 will go to court in the Juvenile Division of the Ocean County Superior Court. For adults 18 and over, you will be given a date for your first appearance in Ocean County Superior Court if charged with an indictable crime for shoplifting.

All indictable crimes carry maximum penalties of state prison. The prison term is set in accordance with the degree of the crime. The potential jail time for shoplifting is as follows:

  • A second degree shoplifting charge ($75,000 or more) carries jail time of 5-10 years;
  • A third degree shoplifting offense ($500-$75,000) allows for 3-5 years of incarceration; and
  • A fourth degree crime of shoplifting ($200-$500) allows a punishment not to exceed 18 months in prison.

A disorderly persons offense is not a felony crime, but is still considered a criminal offense that you may face for shoplifting. This type of shoplifting case is handled in the local Berkeley Township Municipal Court, carrying the potential for county jail time of up to 180 days. Children under 18 are also allowed to be sentenced to a detention facility for offenses that would otherwise be considered crimes committed by an adult, although there are many alternative options that your lawyer can pursue to avoid such harmful impositions. You can learn more about juvenile criminal charges on our dedicated page on the subject.

Shoplifting Lawyers in Berkeley Twp. NJ Free Consultation

When charged with a shoplifting offense in Berkeley NJ, it is imperative to know the defenses that may be available, as well as diversionary programs allowing for the charges to be dismissed if you are an eligible candidate. If you require assistance with a shoplifting case, contact our experienced lawyers to enlist decades of combined experience on your side. You can reach us anytime by calling (848) 238-2100 for a free consultation.