Why Shoplifting is a Serious Crime
Many think that shoplifting isn’t much of a crime. But as you’ll soon see, the punishment you receive should make you pause before stealing that wanted item.
Here’s a scenario: You and your friend are shopping at an expensive jewelry store when a beautiful diamond bracelet catches your eye. The price tag says $700, money that you don’t have to spend. But you really want that bracelet. You take a look around, but no one is watching you. So you swipe the bracelet and head for the exit…and get caught by the security guard. It’s your first offense, how bad can the punishment be?
Shoplifting laws in New Jersey differ a little than other states. There are various degrees in which you can be charged with, depending on the amount of the item stolen. In addition to the legal punishment, the store owner also has the right to recover any monetary losses that are a result of the theft, including court costs.
In the case above, since the value of the time is more than $500 but less than $75,000, this is a third degree offense. You would be facing a punishment of three to five years in jail, plus a fine of up to $15,000, plus whatever the jewelry store adds on.
But what if you’re a first-time offender? Is there any leniency? In some cases, yes. For instance, let’s say the diamond bracelet wasn’t $700 but was a fake diamond bracelet at a value of $50. Since it’s your first offense and the value of the jewelry is less than $200, you probably won’t be heading to jail any time soon. But remember, the store owner still has a right to recover restitution, plus any court costs. That means you could be paying hundreds of dollars for the theft of a $50 item.
If you are charged with shoplifting in New Jersey, it’s best to seek the advice of a criminal defense attorney before to court. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone now for a free consultation.