Will You Go To Jail For Shoplifting In New Jersey?

In New Jersey, will you necessarily go to jail for shoplifting?

Truth be told, in New Jersey, they do not consider shoplifting a minor offense. You could seriously risk going to jail if you are convicted of shoplifting. There are certain circumstances, however, that will help determine whether or not you go to jail. Some of the circumstances are as follows:

    • If, in the past, you were convicted of two shoplifting offenses or more.
    • If an “organized retail theft enterprise” is what you’re technically accused of participating in.
    • The offense can be elevated by the full retail value of the items or singular item that you allegedly stole.

Let’s look at shoplifting closely and some of the circumstances that can surround it.

If You’re Caught Shoplifting, Can You Be Detained?

In New Jersey, in order to recover merchandise, a suspected shoplifter can be detained “for not more than a reasonable time and in a reasonable manner.” Usually, the police will be called once the property is recovered. A retail location can lawfully take you into custody if they believe they’ve caught you in the act of stealing items.

Determining the Seriousness of a Shoplifting Charge

The full retail value of the items or a singular item involved can help determine the seriousness of a shoplifting charge. The following usually applies:

    • Shoplifting in the 2nd degree may be charged if there is a $75,000 or more value. Between 5 to 10 years is a potential sentence.
    • Shoplifting in the 3rd degree could be charged if the value is less than $75,000 but more than $500. Between 3 to 5 years is the potential sentence.
    • Shoplifting in the 4th degree could be charged if the value doesn’t exceed $500 but is at least $200. Up to 18 months in jail could be the sentence.

To determine the grade of the offense, the full retail value of multiple items can be added together if you stole more than one item.

What Is an “Organized Retail Theft Enterprise”?

This is defined as the following: Where two or more persons are in association for the purpose of selling or transferring shoplifted merchandise. You could face a couple of different penalties here, depending on the retail value:

    • If the value was $1000 or higher, you could face a 2nd-degree charge.
    • If the value is less than $1000, you could face a 3rd-degree charge.

Have You Been Convicted For Prior Offenses?

If you’re charged with shoplifting in New Jersey, your incarceration could well be determined by your prior record. A minimum of 90 days in prison must be served by anyone convicted of a 3rd or subsequent shoplifting crime. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about this.

If you’re charged with shoplifting, the stakes are high. Be sure to hire a competent, experienced, knowledgeable lawyer.

Do You Need Legal Representation for a New Jersey Criminal Charge?

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