Old Bridge Shoplifting Attorney
Shoplifting Defense Attorneys in Old Bridge, NJ
Whether you are at the Shoppes at Old Bridge, Walmart, or Liquor City, stealing or attempting to shoplift any type of goods can cost you more than you think. Being caught shoplifting in Old Bridge can land you in jail. This is because according to some, shoplifting has become a drain on retail establishments, paying consumers, and police departments everywhere. For shoplifting items valued at $200 or more, you will be charged with a felony, known in New Jersey as an indictable crime, and face imprisonment, the length of which is determined by the specific degree of the charges. No one wants to receive a jail sentence for any reason, let alone for taking a few groceries, some bottles of Jack, or nominal amounts of clothing. If you or someone you know has been charged with any level of shoplifting offense in Old Bridge, New Jersey, the experienced defense attorneys at William Proetta Criminal Law can help. Having successfully defended clients like you for over a decade, our lawyers can make the difference between you or a loved one being released or being sent to jail upon conviction. Call us before you go to Middlesex County Superior Court for your felony charge or Old Bridge Municipal Court for the disorderly persons offense of shoplifting. We know what to do and are here for you. You can reach us anytime online or by calling our office at (732) 659-9600 for a free consultation.
Why am I being charged with shoplifting N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11 in Old Bridge?
You have been charged with shoplifting because there is an allegation that you took items from a store without paying or intended to do so, as is evidenced by your alleged actions. More than likely, the police have information to believe that it was you based on store surveillance, admissions of others, identification made through facebook, or through information provided by security officers in loss prevention. If it is loss prevention that suspects you of shoplifting, they may not attempt to stop or apprehend you and instead refer the matter to the Old Bridge Police Department. The police will follow up on all tips given by store security and try to hunt you down. They can reach out to other police departments to see if there is a BOLO (be on the lookout out) or if you are known in other stores as a shoplifter.
If it can be established that you either: took something without paying, concealed an object without paying, switched price tags, stole a shopping cart, under-rang an item, or switched containers to conceal an item, you may be charged with a violation of New Jersey’s shoplifting statute, NJSA 2C:12-11. It does not matter whether you actually shoplifted or are accused of attempting to shoplift, you may be charged in either scenario. So gear up, because you will be heading to court upon receiving the warrant complaint or shoplifting summons.
Where will I go to court for an Old Bridge Shoplifting Charge?
Court for shoplifting will either be in Middlesex County Superior Court or in Old Bridge Municipal Court. All indictable crimes ($200 or more) are heard in Superior Court and for shoplifting, they are either second, third, or fourth degree. For disorderly persons offenses, ($200 or less), you are going to be summoned to appear in Old Bridge Municipal Court. The difference between the two courts is not only the severity of the crime and punishment, but the ability of the court to prosecute you with or without an indictment. For felony shoplifting charges, the state is required to present the case to a grand jury, the participants of which will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed with your case. In many cases, a knowledgeable attorney can help you resolve the case in the pre-indictment phase, whether by negotiating a favorable deal, getting the charges downgraded and remanded to municipal court, or helping you to apply for Pre-Trial Intervention, a program that can allow you to get the charges dismissed.
Can I go to jail for shoplifting in Old Bridge NJ?
Just like the charges and courts are different, the punishment you face for the various degrees of shoplifting may be different as well. Jail and prison are considered two different things in New Jersey. You and anyone charged with shoplifting can be sentenced to either prison or jail time, depending on whether you are found guilty of a disorderly persons offense or an indictable crime. Jail is associated with county correctional centers, whereas prisons are associated with state facilities that incarcerate people for more serious offenses.
For shoplifting, you face state prison for up to 18 months for taking $200 to $500 more worth of goods. If you shoplift less than $200 worth of merchandise, you can be sent to the Middlesex County Jail for 180 days. Of note: if you have been convicted of shoplifting at least twice before, you must be sentenced to a minimum of 90 days in the county jail for a third offense. For shoplifting involving items valued between $500 and $75,000 (third degree crime), the court may sentence you to prison for 3-5 years. As for the most serious degree of shoplifting, a second degree, your exposure is state prison for 5-10. This level of charge applies if you take more than $75,000 in a single incident or multiple shoplifting events.
Nonetheless, prison is not an absolute certainty in your case. The outcome can depend on different factors such as your criminal history, the amount, your supposed role in the heist, personal factors that influenced the crime, and whether there are issues or insufficiencies in the state’s case that can be exploited.
Can I get a shoplifting charge in Old Bridge dropped?
People may be in different positions with regard to available resolutions in a shoplifting case. For instance, if you have no record or prior PTI, you could apply for Pre-Trial Intervention. Upon acceptance, the prosecution against you will be put on hold and your charges dismissed after having completed all of the conditions. This can be done without ever having entered a guilty plea. For some people, this could mean the difference between remaining in the country or being deported, as some people can face immigration consequences if convicted of a crime of moral turpitude such as shoplifting. Conditional dismissal is also an option for dismissing first offenses for shoplifting in Municipal Court, so knowing everything that you can do to avoid a conviction is of paramount concern when charged with a theft offense. It is also critical to have all of the available evidence reviewed by a knowledgeable shoplifting defense lawyer, as there may be ways to get the charges dismissed outright, depending on what the prosecutor has and whether any witnesses actually appear in court to testify on behalf of the state.
Finding Help from an Experienced Old Bridge Shoplifting Lawyer
If you have been accused of shoplifting in Old Bridge, we can help no matter what the degree of the shoplifting charge or your criminal background. Call today for a free consultation with an Old Bridge shoplifting lawyer near you. Our phones are answered 24/7 to best serve your needs. Simply call (732) 659-9600 to learn more.