No matter how much or how little you steal, shoplifting is a crime in New Jersey. How bad the consequences are (and what you can do to avoid them) depend on how much you stole, or are accused of stealing. It also determines which court you end up in.

Shoplifting as Petty Theft

Again, it all depends on the value of what you are accused of stealing. If the full retail value of the item or items is less than $200, then it is a Disorderly Person's Offense and is handled in municipal court. With that charge, you are facing:

  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • Jail time:
    • First or Second Offense: 1 to 180 days (i.e. you're going to jail)
    • Third or Subsequent: 90 - 180 days
  • Community Service of
    • First Offense: 10+ days
    • Second Offense: 15+ days
    • Third/Subsequent Offense: 25 days

Shoplifting as a Crime

If you are accused of stealing items of more substantial value ($200+), then you are accused of a crime (i.e. a felony) and face indictment by the county prosecutor. As such, the penalties become more severe:

Merchandise Worth $200 - $500

  • Jail Time: Up to 18 months
  • Fines: Up to $10,000!

Merchandise Worth $500 - $75,000

  • Jail Time: 3 - 5 years!
  • Fines: Up to $15,000

Merchandise Worth $75,000+

  • Jail Time: 5 - 10 years!
  • Fines: Up to $150,000!

In addition to these penalties, you would also face the community service terms set forth above.

You Need a Lawyer for Your Shoplifting Charge!

As you can see, shoplifting comes with some very serious and scary consequences, and you really don't want to go it alone in court. A good attorney knows how to handle a charge like this and may be able to get them dismissed!

If you have been charged with shoplifting in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem or Cumberland County, call me immediately at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site to schedule an appointment for a free consultation in my Woodbury office. You need to protect yourself!

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Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.