Many people consider shoplifting a minor crime because it often involves taking small items without causing physical harm to anyone. In reality, shoplifting can have serious consequences that can affect your life for years to come, even if you are a first-time offender. Depending on the value of the stolen merchandise and other circumstances of the offense, shoplifting can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, with varying penalties and implications.
The law in New Jersey
Shoplifting will be charged as a misdemeanor when the value of the stolen goods is less than $200. This is considered a disorderly persons offense and can result in up to 6 months in jail, although in some cases, the maximum sentence is 30 days.For shoplifting that involves more than $200, it is considered a felony offense. The potential penalties range depending on the felony degree. For instance, a fourth-degree felony theft involves merchandise valued at over $200 but below $500. Here, you risk up to 18 months in jail or a fine of up to $10000 or double the victim’s loss (whichever is greater) or both.However, for third-degree felony theft that involves property worth over $500 but less than $75,000, you may get a prison term of three to five years or a fine not exceeding $15,000 or double the victim's loss (the greater of the two), or both. Second-degree theft for property valued at over $75,000 is punishable by five to ten years in prison, with similar fines to third-degree felony charges.
Are you facing shoplifting charges?
The possibility of jail time is real with shoplifting charges, not to mention the criminal record you will end up with if convicted. If you face such charges with serious consequences, do not take it lightly. Reach out for proper legal representation to help your defense, protect your rights and increase the chances of a positive outcome.