young man shoplifting a gadget from a store

Woodbridge Shoplifting Defense Lawyer

Are you facing accusations or charges of shoplifting in Woodbridge, New Jersey? If so, a conviction could result in significant consequences, including steep fines or even jail time. When the stakes are this high, you need a shoplifting defense lawyer to help you navigate the legal system.

At William Proetta Criminal Law, our Woodbridge shoplifting defense attorneys are ready to fight for your rights and establish a strong defense in your case. Contact our firm now for a free, confidential case review to learn more about your options for fighting shoplifting charges in Woodbridge, NJ.

What Is Shoplifting Under New Jersey Law?

In New Jersey, you could be charged with shoplifting under 2C:20-11 if you purposely commit one of the following acts:

  • Taking any store merchandise without paying the full retail value or with the intent of depriving the store of the opportunity to sell it
  • Concealing store merchandise without paying for it or with the intent of depriving the store of the opportunity to sell it
  • Altering or removing a label or price tag of store merchandise and attempting to purchase the merchandise for less than the full retail value
  • Transferring store merchandise from the original container in which it is displayed for sale to another container with the intent to pay less than the full retail value
  • Causing the cash register to reflect less than the full retail value of an item with the intention of paying less than the total value of the merchandise
  • Removing a shopping cart from store premises without the consent of the merchant to deprive the merchant of the possession of the cart

How To Defend A Shoplifting Charge

It’s worth noting that you don’t have to physically remove items from a store to face shoplifting charges. In many cases, prosecutors only need to prove that you intended to take something. Proof of intent is a tricky element in shoplifting cases, so you need our lawyers on your side to prepare your defense if you are facing a shoplifting charge in Woodbridge. The defense attorneys at William Proetta Criminal Law are ready to gather evidence like receipts, surveillance videos, and eyewitness statements to establish a strong case on your behalf.

Shoplifting is distinct from larceny, which New Jersey refers to as “theft.” Larceny is a more generalized term that refers to actually taking something of value from another person or institution, not just intending to do so. New Jersey larceny laws prohibit theft by unlawful taking, disposing, deception, or extortion. The level of a larceny charge increases along with the value of stolen items.

Possible Penalties for Shoplifting Charges in Woodbridge, NJ

The penalties for shoplifting in New Jersey vary depending on the retail value of the store merchandise that was involved. Possible shoplifting penalties in Woodbridge include:

  • For shoplifting items worth less than $200 (a disorderly persons offense) – Up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine
  • For shoplifting items worth $200 to $500 (fourth-degree indictable crime) – Up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine
  • For shoplifting items worth $500 to $75,000 (third-degree indictable crime) – 3 to 5 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines
  • For shoplifting items worth $75,000 or more (second-degree indictable crime) – 5 to 10 years in prison and up to $150,000 in fines

In addition to these penalties, any person convicted of a shoplifting offense must also perform community service. The amount of community service necessary depends on how many shoplifting offenses an individual has on their record. For instance, here are possible penalties for:

  • First-time offense – At least 10 days of community service
  • Second offense – At least 15 days of community service
  • Third or subsequent offense – Up to 25 days of community service

Potential Defenses Against Shoplifting Charges in Woodbridge

Your potential defenses to a shoplifting charge will depend on the facts and circumstances of the case. Examples of defenses our criminal defense attorneys could raise in your shoplifting case include:

  • Disputing intent – To successfully be convicted of a shoplifting charge in Woodbridge, NJ, the prosecutor must prove your intent to take the store merchandise beyond a reasonable doubt. If you can demonstrate that you had no intention of taking the item, you could defend against this charge. An example of a lack of intent would be putting an item under your shopping cart and neglecting to give it to the cashier for purchase.
  • Showing that law enforcement violated your rights – If law enforcement conducted an unreasonable search or seizure, failed to provide a Miranda warning, or otherwise violated your rights, our attorneys could argue to have certain pieces of evidence or your entire case dismissed.
  • Negotiating with the prosecutor – Our skilled criminal defense attorneys can thoroughly review the shoplifting charges against you, evaluate the available evidence, and assess the strength of the prosecutor’s case. If we know the prosecutor has a weak case, we might be able to negotiate a downgrade of the shoplifting charges or an outright dismissal for your case.

How a Woodbridge Shoplifting Defense Lawyer Can Help

Shoplifting cases are often complex and involve many questions of fact, including questions regarding criminal intent. Our shoplifting attorneys in Woodbridge, NJ, can review your case to identify evidence of your alleged intent to shoplift, any co-defendants involved in the commission of the shoplifting offense, and the full retail value of the merchandise that was allegedly involved.

At William Proetta Criminal Law, our founding attorney, William Proetta, has helped more than 1,000 New Jersey residents with criminal charges, including many for shoplifting offenses. Mr. Proetta and his dedicated team can handle all aspects of your shoplifting case, including analyzing the facts and circumstances of the incident, reviewing any available store surveillance videos, and negotiating with the prosecuting attorney to reduce or eliminate the charges against you.

Get Help from Our Shoplifting Defense Lawyers in Woodbridge, NJ

At William Proetta Criminal Law, we understand you might feel intimidated by the legal process and unsure of where to turn after learning of shoplifting charges. If you have been charged with a shoplifting offense in Woodbridge, New Jersey, contact us to get started with your free, confidential case review.