Freehold Shoplifting Lawyer
If a retailer has accused you of stealing merchandise, you need to know how to beat the charges against you. Find out by working with a Freehold shoplifting attorney.
Shoplifting, sometimes referred to as “retail theft,” is a serious crime to be accused of. A conviction can result in harsh penalties and can forever stain your history with a criminal record that limits your future opportunities.
While a charge doesn’t guarantee a conviction, you have to fight back in order to clear your name. By working with a Freehold shoplifting lawyer from Clark & Clark, LLC, you can get the defense strategy that provides the best chance for a dismissal or acquittal.
New Jersey Penalties for Shoplifting Charges
How serious your shoplifting charge is depends on the total value of the merchandise you’re accused of stealing:
- Merchandise Worth $7,500 or More – Second-degree indictable offense, fine up to $150,000, five to ten years in prison
- Merchandise Worth More than $500 but Less than $7,500 – Third-degree indictable offense, fine up to $15,000, three to five years in prison
- Merchandise Worth Between $200 and $500 – Fourth-degree indictable offense, fine up to $10,000, up to eighteen months in prison
- Merchandise Worth Less than $200 – Disorderly person offense, fine up to $1,000, up to six months in jail
The exact amount of the fine and the length of imprisonment that result from a shoplifting conviction will depend on the number of convictions already on your criminal record. For example, a third conviction will carry a mandatory minimum sentence of ninety days in jail, while a first-time offender can expect a much more lenient sentence.
Additional Retail Theft Penalties in New Jersey
Depending on the number of the offense, you’ll also have to serve a mandatory period of community service if you are convicted of shoplifting:
- First Offense – Minimum of ten days of community service
- Second Offense – Minimum of fifteen days of community service
- Third Offense – Maximum of twenty-five days of community service
Additionally, New Jersey allows the retailer who accuses you to recover the costs associated with prosecuting the shoplifting charge. This means that in addition to the legal fine, you’ll also have to pay the merchant the cost of the merchandise, court fees, attorney fees, and a shoplifting surcharge.
The Strategy for Your Shoplifting Defense
The best defense for your case will depend on the circumstances around the alleged theft. For example, under New Jersey’s definition of shoplifting, even altering price tags could result in accusations of theft. A store clerk might have made a simple error involving the price tags and you wound up getting charged with a crime!
Even if you’re accused of physically removing merchandise from the store, there will still be a defense to be made. It only takes the introduction of reasonable doubt to poke holes in the prosecution’s case, and your Freehold shoplifting attorney will identify all of the evidence that can be used in your favor.
Consult with a Freehold Retail Theft Attorney
If you’ve been accused of shoplifting in Freehold or anywhere else in New Jersey, Clark & Clark, LLC can help. We’re former prosecutors who know how the case against you will be built, and we never stop fighting for our clients’ rights.
To discover how best to handle your case, schedule a free, confidential consultation with a Freehold shoplifting lawyer from our firm. Getting started is as easy as completing the form on this page or calling us directly at 732-303-7857. We’re standing by and ready to help.