East Brunswick Shoplifting Attorney

If you’ve been caught with merchandise outside of a store in East Brunswick or have been stopped by a store’s security guard for shoplifting and the owner wants to press charges, you are likely dealing with many unknowns. You’re probably wondering if taking you into custody was legal, what your rights are, and what you should do next. Knowing what to expect when you or a loved one is facing shoplifting charges in East Brunswick, New Jersey can be invaluable to your peace of mind and help you make the best decisions when it comes to your defense. The lawyers at William Proetta Criminal Law have successfully handled thousands of shoplifting charges in Middlesex County and New Jersey during our careers, many of which occurred in East Brunswick. To speak with a local East Brunswick shoplifting attorney about your shoplifting case, simple contact us at (732) 659-9600. Consultations are always provided free of charge.

Shoplifting Offenses in East Brunswick NJ

Shoplifting is defined by New Jersey law 2C:20-11 as taking merchandise from a store without paying for it; hiding merchandise on a person’s body; switching tags, containers, or under-ringing merchandise for lower than the retailer is selling it, or otherwise getting merchandise for lower than the retailer is selling it; using anti-theft or inventory control devices to get away with theft; and removing shopping carts from a store without permission. While intention to permanently deprive a retailer of its merchandise or its full price is key to the crime, a person concealing the merchandise on their body or in their possession outside the retail premises is presumed to be shoplifting. Law enforcement officers, security guards, store security or store owners may take into custody and detain a suspect if they have probable cause or good reason to believe that the individual has shoplifted. A warrant is not necessary.

East Brunswick Municipal Court handles shoplifting disorderly persons offenses, while Middlesex County Superior Court and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office handle first, second, third, and fourth degree crimes for shoplifting in East Brunswick.

Punishments for East Brunswick Shoplifting Charges

According to section N.J.S.A 2C:20-11, shoplifting is punishable by up to ten years in prison and a fine of $100,000.00, depending on the full retail value of the merchandise shoplifted. Specifically, shoplifting over $75,000 for an individual, and over $1,000.00 for a theft ring, meaning a joint effort of two or more people, for a second degree crime, is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a heavy fine of up to $150,000. Shoplifting under $75,000.00 but more than $500 for an individual and under $1,000.00 for a theft ring, a crime of the third degree, is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $15,000.

Further, shoplifting offenses involving valuables of $200 to $500, a fourth degree crime, are punishable by up to 18 months in prison and fines of $10,000. Lastly, shoplifting offenses amounting to under $200, a disorderly persons offense, are punishable by six months in jail and a fine of $1,000.00. Using an anti-theft or inventory control device in a store is also a disorderly persons offense.

If the shoplifting is part of a course of conduct or scheme perpetrated with others or alone, then the grade of the offense is determined by the aggregate sum of merchandise shoplifted. Additionally, convicted shoplifters must do at least 10 days of community service for a first offense, 15 for a second, 25 for a third, and a minimum of 90 days imprisonment for three or more times. Punishment may also include suspension of the defendant’s driver’s license up to two years if a car was used and loss of public office for a public servant.

East Brunswick NJ Shoplifting Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with shoplifting in East Brunswick, you should find competent counsel to help you understand the process and make the right decisions throughout your shoplifting case. For example, a first time shoplifting offender may be eligible for Conditional Dismissal or Pretrial Intervention, where a probationary term is ordered instead of punishment through the criminal justice system. If you complete PTI or conditional dismissal programs, you can also get an expungement six months after completion of the program term. There may also be viable defenses that can be used to get your charges dismissed. Talk to an experienced East Brunswick shoplifting attorney who knows Middlesex County courts and how to defend you against a shoplifting charge now. Call (732) 659-9600 or contact us online for a free consultation today.