With a population of over 100,000, Woodbridge, New Jersey, attracts large numbers of people from out of town to shop at the popular Woodbridge Center Mall, located at 250 Woodbridge Center Drive. Of those shoppers, some attempt to shoplift from the many retail stores at Woodbridge Center like Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, and JCPenney. New Jersey law criminalizes the act of shoplifting with punishments that increase in severity according to the value of the merchandise stolen. If you have been charged with shoplifting in Woodbridge, NJ, you are facing the potential of jail time, significant fines, and a criminal record. With so much on the line, it is vital to have an experienced shoplifting defense lawyer who can examine the details of your case and develop the best strategy for beating these charges. For a free consultation with a Woodbridge shoplifting attorney, contact the law offices of William Proetta Criminal Law at (732) 659-9600.
What Are the Penalties for Shoplifting in Woodbridge, NJ?
Many people who are charged with shoplifting in Woodbridge, NJ are accused of shoplifting merchandise from the Woodbridge Center Mall. The highest degree of shoplifting is a second degree offense, which applies to shoplifting merchandise that is valued at $75,000 or more. Shoplifting from jewelry or electronics stores at the Woodbridge Center Mall, like Swarovski, Zales, Kay Jewelers, Pandora, AT&T, Verizon, Lord & Taylor, and others could add up to the value of $75,000 faster than you think. The penalty for second degree shoplifting is imprisonment for a period of 5 to 10 years and a fine of up to $150,000.
If you shoplift merchandise that is valued at more than $500 but less than $75,000, you will be charged with third degree shoplifting. This is the widest value range in the different grades of shoplifting offenses. If you are shoplifting from a retail store at Woodbridge Center Mall or any other store in Woodbridge, NJ, it is possible to reach this value by shoplifting only one or two items. Third degree shoplifting convictions carry potential imprisonment of 3 to 5 years and a fine of up to $15,000.
Fourth degree shoplifting charges are applied when the value of the merchandise is at least $200 but no more than $500. Simply making one mistake of shoplifting an item from nearly any store in the Woodbridge Center Mall could easily result in a charge of fourth degree shoplifting. Penalties for fourth degree shoplifting charges include a term of imprisonment up to 18 months and a fine of up to $10,000.
Second, third, and fourth degree shoplifting are all indictable crimes, which means that if you are charged with one of these crimes, you are entitled to be indicted by a grand jury and you have a right to a trial by jury.
Shoplifting Disorderly Persons Offense at Woodbridge Center Mall
If you shoplift merchandise from Woodbridge Center Mall that is valued at less than $200, you are guilty of a disorderly persons offense. No matter how small the value of the item you are shoplifting from the Woodbridge Center Mall, you can still be charged with this offense—even if you shoplift a mug from Starbucks or an accessory from Forever 21. The penalties for this offense include imprisonment of up to 6 months and a fine of up to $1,000. Disorderly persons offenses are not indictable crimes because they do not carry the potential of at least 1 year of imprisonment. This means that if you are charged with shoplifting merchandise that is valued at less than $200, you will not have a right to a grand jury indictment or jury trial.
In addition to the potential penalties listed above, there are several other mandatory penalties that apply to shoplifting offenses of all degrees. If you are caught shoplifting at Woodbridge Center Mall and you are a first time shoplifting offender, you must serve at least 10 days of community service and if it is your second offense, you will be required to serve at least 15 days of community service. If it is your third or subsequent offense, you will be ordered to serve a maximum of 25 days of community service and a minimum of 90 days of imprisonment.
I Was Charged With Shoplifting in Woodbridge, NJ. Now What?
If you are charged with shoplifting merchandise valued at less than $200—a disorderly persons offense—your case will be heard at Woodbridge Municipal Court, located at 1 Main Street in Woodbridge, New Jersey. You are entitled to be represented by a lawyer, but you do not have a right to a trial by jury. Instead, your case will be heard and decided by a single municipal court judge.
If you are charged with a second, third, or fourth degree offense, your case will be heard at Middlesex County Superior Court, located at 56 Paterson Street in New Brunswick, New Jersey. You will have the right to an attorney and to have your case tried by a jury composed of members of the community.
The experienced criminal defense lawyers at our William Proetta Criminal Law, LLC. have defended clients in numerous shoplifting cases in Woodbridge Municiple Court and Middlesex County Superior Court. Call us today at (732) 659-9600 to review your case and defend you against your shoplifting charges. We are well-versed in the law and the potential defense strategies that we can use to have your shoplifting charges dismissed. Whether you are facing a felony shoplifting charge or a disorderly persons offense in Woodbridge, NJ, we will fight tirelessly for the best possible result.