We recently defended a client who was charged with shoplifting after allegedly stealing over $200 worth of merchandise from Walmart in Edison, New Jersey.
Once a shoplifting involves more than $200 of theft it automatically becomes an indictable felony. In this situation the amount in question was $210.11, which makes it a 4th degree felony since the crime involved more than $200 but less than $500 worth of merchandise. A 4th degree can not only result in a permanent felony record but can also subject the defendant to up to 18 months in state prison.
To make matters worse, our client was not a U.S. Citizen and a conviction could seriously affect her immigration status since shoplifting is a considered a “crime involving moral turpitude”, also known as a C.I.M.T. Immigration consequences for non-citizens who are convicted of a C.I.M.T. can include mandatory removal, denial of re-admittance to the country if they leave voluntarily, or denial of citizenship or green card renewal.
In order to avoid these possible consequences for our client, our Edison shoplifting attorneys knew that we needed to have this charge dismissed. So we subpoenaed all evidence that Walmart had relied on in charging our client including a surveillance video and loss prevention report. When the store failed to comply, we were able to successfully argue that the court enforce a motion to dismiss. In the end the charges were dismissed outright and our client was able to walk out of court without having to pay any fines.
State v. U.P. decided 10/7/16 in Edison Municipal Court