Is Shoplifting That Big of a Deal?
Sometimes while you are shopping, you might see something you really want but can’t necessarily afford. Although you may just pout and save up for the item for a future time, some people would just slide that item into their jacket. That is considered shoplifting. Most people who have done this don’t find it to be a really big deal. But, it is.
The official definition of shoplifting constitutes an act of stealing merchandise from a store or place of business. It is also considered larceny, which means taking someone else’s property without their permission.
You should know that shoplifting is fairly common when it comes to children and teenagers. In most instances, serious consequences don’t arise except for the embarrassment of being caught and having to return the stolen goods to the store owner. The worst-case scenario is the store owner keeping you or the guilty individual on the property’s premises until your parents or the authorities arrive. However, you won’t be getting a simple slap on the wrist when you are an adult.
When an adult is caught shoplifting on one or more occasions, one might find themselves facing serious penalties such as hefty fines and even jail time. In New Jersey, the law and penalties for shoplifting hinge on which grade of shoplifting you have been charged with:
- The statute for second-degree shoplifting indicates “… the items stolen have a value of $75,000 or more, or where the offense is committed in conjunction with an organized retail theft enterprise and involves merchandise valued at $1,000 or more.” If found guilty of second-degree shoplifting, the offender faces 5-10 years in prison.
- The third-degree shoplifting statute applies if merchandise with a value of between $500 $75,000 has been stolen. The law also provides for a third-degree charge whenever an incident of shoplifting “involves an organized retail theft enterprise and merchandise with a value of $1,000 or less.” A third-degree shoplifting charge could mean five years in jail and is the most frequent type of shoplifting charge in New Jersey.
- A conviction for fourth-degree shoplifting can include up to 18 months of jail time and a fine up to $10,000. If convicted of this charge, you must also serve at least 10 days of community service for a first offense, 15 days for a second offense, and 25 days for a third or subsequent offense.
In some cases, a shoplifting charge may be downgraded to a disorderly persons charge, and the penalties for this conviction vary from case to case and may result in fines, jail time, community service or some combination of those penalties.
If you are facing charges of shoplifting in the Garden State, know that the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone is on your side. Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation so we can start proceeding with a plan to defend your interests and rights.