How Long After a Shoplifting Can You Be Charged?
So, you snagged a $200 pair of designer jeans at your favorite store and escaped undetected without paying for them. Score a win for yourself?
Not so fast. Maybe it’s been a few days or even weeks and you haven’t been charged. You’re constantly looking over your shoulder, haunted by the possibility that you may eventually be caught. When can you breathe easy knowing that’s the end of it?
In this blog, we discuss frequently asked questions in regards to shoplifting offenses like:
- How Long After Shoplifting Can You Be Charged in NJ?
- Do Stores Track Down Shoplifters?
- What to Do if Police Contact You About a Shoplifting Accusation
- Is Shoplifting a Felony in NJ?
Shoplifting in America is big business and it’s on the rise. In New Jersey, it’s a common criminal offense that can cost you plenty.
- Disorderly Persons Offense – If the full retail value is less than $200, you can be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to up to 6 months of imprisonment.
- 4th Degree Shoplifting – If the full retail value is between $200 and $500, you can be fined up to $10,000 and be sentenced for up to 18 months of imprisonment.
- 3rd Degree Shoplifting – If the full retail value is over $500, but less than $75,000, you can be fined up to $15,000 and sentenced for 3-5 years of imprisonment.
- 2nd Degree Shoplifting – If the full retail value is $75,000 or more, you can be fined up to $150,000 and sentenced to 5-10 years of imprisonment.
It can also cause you to lose your job, college acceptances, and financial aid. If you’re not a United States citizen, you may be deported.
With so much at stake, you don’t want to go it alone. The criminal defense attorneys at Clark, Clark & Noonan are experienced in representing people facing shoplifting charges. We all began our legal careers as prosecutors for Monmouth County, where we handled hundreds of theft, burglary, and shoplifting charges. We understand the system and we know the law. Your defense depends on it.
We serve Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County, and beyond in New Jersey with a solid reputation for fighting for our clients.
Contact us now for a free consultation to discuss your legal options if you were accused of shoplifting in New Jersey.
Can Stores Track Down Shoplifters by Camera?
According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, more than $13 billion worth of goods are stolen from retailers each year (or approximately $35 million per day). Moreover, 1 in 11 people will commit the crime of shoplifting at some point in their lives.
With numbers this high, it’s obvious that shoplifting is nearly epidemic in America. Some people think of it as a victimless crime, given that many retail stores, especially “big box” stores, have such high volume of sales. This is far from the case. In fact, the cumulative effect of these thefts is quite substantial. It’s passed on to consumers as higher prices to absorb the expense of shoplifted losses.
Many retailers – even small ones – work hard to track down shoplifters and retrieve stolen goods. Surveillance cameras with facial-recognition technology and video analytics software are high-tech solutions, especially when combined with plainclothes security personnel. Parking lot cameras can pick up the vehicle make and model a shoplifter is driving, often including the license plate number.
Can You Get Charged with Shoplifting Weeks After Leaving the Store?
Yes. In fact, you can be charged up to a year after the alleged offense was committed.
Court Summons for Shoplifting
If you are to be charged with shoplifting or another form of theft, the court will summon you to appear and answer a complaint. You will need to come to court on the designated date and time. It is in your best interest to be represented by a criminal defense attorney at this proceeding.
What Do I Do If Police Contact Me About Retail Theft?
If you are contacted by the police and they want to talk to you about this incident, this means that they may suspect you committed a crime. You need to be careful about what you do from this point on.
Tell the officer that you will not answer any questions without the advice of an attorney. If the police officer asks you to go to the police station, you should go. The biggest mistake that some people make is that they believe that they can talk themselves out of a situation. Sometimes, without the benefit of legal counsel, they talk themselves into deeper trouble.
Is Shoplifting a Felony in New Jersey?
In some cases, shoplifting is considered by the courts to be a felony. In terms of grading, the degree of shoplifting charges is highly variable. The primary determinant of the degree of a shoplifting offense is the dollar value of the merchandise at issue.
Free Consultation with a Criminal Defense Attorney
It’s important to remember that the burden is always on the state to prove you are guilty. That’s why having one of our experienced trial attorneys on your case matters.
Count on the lawyers (and former prosecutors) at Clark, Clark & Noonan to perform a careful evaluation of the evidence, seeking to discover hidden weaknesses in the state’s case – and strengths in yours. You can relax knowing the full resources of our firm will be deployed in your defense.
Retail theft and shoplifting offenses in New Jersey are serious charges with far-reaching implications. We’re available 24/7 and ready to put our experience to work crafting a solid defense.
We know how intimidating these charges can be, and we want to stand at your side to defend you. Get started now by calling our theft crimes attorneys or by completing the form on this page for a free case review.