The Mills at Jersey Gardens in Elizabeth, NJ is a great place to shop. The mall, located along Kapowski Road, just off the New Jersey Turnpike, offers an amazing array of stores to purchase from and peruse on any given date of the week. You can buy high end items from Saks Fifth Avenue or head over to the Nike outlet and grab a pair of everyday sneakers. Thousands of people regularly frequent the mall, as it has an assortment of items to choose from. The location, number of shops, and volume of people also make the Mills at Jersey Gardens a popular destination for shoplifting. Regardless of the specific merchandise involved, whether it is ten dollars and fits in your pocket or is a larger item worth thousands, you may be arrested and charged criminally if someone reports that you were attempting to shoplift. Once arrested for shoplifting at the Jersey Gardens Mall, you face conviction and possible punishment in either the Municipal Court or Union County Superior Court in Elizabeth. The monetary amount that you are alleged to have taken or tried to steal from the store will determine whether you are facing state prison or county jail in your shoplifting case.
What Are Common Ways People Are Charged With Shoplifting at Jersey Gardens?
Many people who shoplift believe that they can get out of the charge by blaming it on someone else, claiming lack of knowledge or intent, or by dropping the items and running. The reality is that anyone can be charged with this offense if a few simple allegations are made. For instance, if you went into the dressing room at a clothing store and walked out with a shirt from the store under your sweater, you may be charged with violating NJSA 2C:2-11. In essence, the state sets out to prove that you left the store with the intention of taking the shirt without paying. Also, the act of concealing the item is, in and of itself, shoplifting.
Similarly, say that you peeled a price sticker off of a sale’s rack item and slapped it on the tag of a more expensive sweater. In this instance, you may also be facing shoplifting charges for supposedly price swapping. Perhaps a store employee said that you tried to take an article of clothing, makeup, or something else when you put it inside a handbag (hiding in another container), paid for the bag, and left the store without paying for the bag’s contents. This too is shoplifting. Still more, if you have a friend or cohort working at the jewelry counter at Neiman Marcus and she agrees to under-ring some expensive items so that you pay less, you can both be charged with a shoplifting offense.
What Happens When Someone Gets Arrested at the Mills for Shoplifting?
Mall security or loss prevention has the right to detain you if you are suspected of shoplifting. The police will be called and if there is enough information to charge you, the police will arrest you and take you to the Elizabeth Police Department. You should remain silent and not provide security or the officer with any information as it may be used against you.
Once at the police station, a determination is made as to whether you should be charged with a disorderly persons offense or an indictable offense. For the most part, the decision is based upon the value of the goods. When it comes to shoplifting, the acts are often proven by a review of the video surveillance capturing the actor’s conduct or a witness who testifies as to what occurred. If it can be alleged that you are the person in the video, a store owner or loss prevention officer reports you, or you otherwise find yourself charged with shoplifting at the Mills at Jersey Gardens in Elizabeth, your case will require your appearance in court.
Amounts under $200 are referred to Elizabeth Municipal Court and the complaint is placed on a summons. Placing a complaint on a summons means that you get to go home and will not be held in jail while the case is pending. However, in the booking process, your fingerprints will be taken and you will receive a court date upon which you must appear as directed. If you do not show up, the court can issue a warrant for your arrest and you may be picked up and held until brought before the judge.
For felony complaints (amounts over $200), your case can be placed on either a summons or a warrant. The arresting officer will fingerprint you and have your information run through the system to determine whether you should be held on a warrant or released on a summons. In the majority of shoplifting cases, you are released pending your next appearance once the charges have been filed. The charges vary by degree, but all indictable offenses are heard in Union County Superior Court when they occur in Elizabeth.
At the court dates that follow, you and your attorney can attempt a resolution by way of plea agreement, enrollment into a court diversionary program like Pre-Trial Intervention or conditional dismissal, or prepare in anticipation of a trial at a later date.
Can I Go to Jail for Elizabeth NJ Shoplifting Charges?
The punishment for shoplifting gradually increases as the amount increases. The consequences can be understood as follows:
- For a disorderly persons offense for less than $200 worth of goods, the jail time can be as much as 6 months.
- For a fourth degree crime involving $200-500 worth, the time is as much as 18 months in state prison.
- For the more commonly filed crime of third degree shoplifting (values ranging from $500 to $75,000), the penal exposure is 3 to 5 years.
- At the highest end of the sentencing range, often involving aggregated offenses or shoplifting rings (worth more than $75,000), a second degree crime could result in between 5 and 10 years in state prison.
Who can help with Shoplifting Charges at the Mills at Jersey Gardens in Elizabeth, NJ?
Shoplifting cases may not be clear cut and there may be inadequate proof to support what the prosecution alleges. Whether it’s not entirely true, there are clear problems with the evidence, one of the witnesses is unwilling or unavailable to show up to court, or other defenses and options are on the table, you need a legal advocate who can aid in every aspect of the litigation and negotiation process. With a multitude of happy clients whom we have successfully defended against shoplifting charges in the past, our lawyers know and understand how the local courts in Elizabeth operate. We appreciate the seriousness of these allegations and will do all we can to make the situation more favorable to you. Our attorneys have dedicated our careers to defending the rights of the accused and we will do just as much for you. Whether it be a disorderly persons charge or a felony shoplifting offense that brings you to court based on theft from The Mill at Jersey Gardens in Elizabeth, NJ, receive a free consultation with a lawyer who can assist you by calling (908) 838-0150 or sending a quick message today.