Shoplifting Cases in New Jersey
In New Jersey, shoplifting crimes are enumerated within Title 2C; Chapter 20- Theft and Related Offenses. The statute can be found at 2C:20-11.
Former Shoplifting Prosecutors
The Bianchi Law Group is made up of former trial prosecutors and other “of counsel” attorneys who have handled the investigations and prosecutions of most crimes in New Jersey and will defend you for all federal and state crimes in New Jersey including shoplifting.
Certified Criminal Trial Attorneys by the New Jersey Supreme Court
Partners Robert A. Bianchi and David J. Bruno are also both certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as Criminal Trial Attorneys.
In New Jersey, the New Jersey Supreme Court has a certification committee which classifies certain New Jersey Lawyers as Certified Trial Attorneys. The process requires the prospective attorneys to satisfy strict criteria including extensive jury trials, a primary focus in criminal law, an application submission, a peer review process, a character and background check and to pass a written examination. Only 250 of over 98,000 lawyers (less than 1%) are designated as certified criminal trial attorneys by the New Jersey Supreme Court. This should be an important factor in finding a New Jersey criminal defense attorney to represent you. Many New Jersey Lawyers describe themselves as trial attorneys, but most do not have the New Jersey Court’s distinction as Certified Criminal Trial Attorney.
Shoplifting Penalties in New Jersey- 2C:20-11(c)
- Shoplifting constitutes a crime of the second-degree under subsection b. of this section if the full retail value of the merchandise is $75,000 or more, or the offense is committed in furtherance of or in conjunction with an organized retail theft enterprise and the full retail value of the merchandise is $1,000 or more.
- Shoplifting constitutes a crime of the third-degree under subsection b. of this section if the full retail value of the merchandise exceeds $500 but is less than $75,000, or the offense is committed in furtherance of or in conjunction with an organized retail theft enterprise and the full retail value of the merchandise is less than $1,000.
- Shoplifting constitutes a crime of the fourth-degree under subsection b. of this section if the full retail value of the merchandise is at least $200 but does not exceed $500.
- Shoplifting is a disorderly persons offense under subsection b. of this section if the full retail value of the merchandise is less than $200.
Crimes in the first-degree can be punishable from 10 years to 20 years in New Jersey State Prison. Crimes in the second degree can be punishable from 5 years to 10 years in New Jersey State prison. Crimes in the third-degree range can be punishable from 3 years to 5 years in the New Jersey State prison. Crimes in the fourth-degree range can be punishable up to 18 months in New Jersey State prison. Disorderly persons offenses can be punishable up to 6 months in the County jail usually in the County where the crime was committed.
The Sentencing Judge may also order fines and restitution as prescribed by 2C:43-3 and for all convictions for Shoplifting in New Jersey.
Leader of an Organized Retail Theft Enterprise
A person is a leader of an organized retail theft enterprise if he conspires with others as an organizer, supervisor, financier or manager, to engage for profit in a scheme or course of conduct to effectuate the transfer or sale of shoplifted merchandise. Leader of organized retail theft enterprise is a crime of the second degree. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, the court may impose a fine not to exceed $250,000 or five times the retail value of the merchandise seized at the time of the arrest, whichever is greater.
Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-8, a conviction of the leader of organized retail theft enterprise shall not merge with the conviction for any offense which is the object of the conspiracy. Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit the court from imposing an extended term pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-7; nor shall this section be construed in any way to preclude or limit the prosecution or conviction of any person for conspiracy under N.J.S.2C:5-2, or any prosecution or conviction for any other offense.
It shall not be necessary for any prosecution under this section for the State to prove that any intended profit was actually realized. The trier of fact may infer that a particular scheme or course of conduct was undertaken for profit from all of the attending circumstances, including but not limited to the number of persons involved in the scheme or course of conduct, the actor’s net worth and his expenditures in relation to his legitimate sources of income, the amount of merchandise involved, or the amount of cash or currency involved.
It shall not be a defense to a prosecution under this section that any shoplifted merchandise was brought into or transported in this State solely for ultimate distribution in another jurisdiction; nor shall it be a defense that any profit was intended to be made in another jurisdiction.
2C:20-2(c)-Statutory Defenses to Theft in New Jersey
It is an affirmative defense to prosecution for theft that the actor:
- Was unaware that the property or service was that of another;
- Acted under an honest claim of right to the property or service involved or that he had a right to acquire or dispose of it as he did; or
- Took property exposed for sale, intending to purchase and pay for it promptly, or reasonably believing that the owner, if present, would have consented.
2C:20-1.1- Presumed Unlawful Purpose
In any prosecution for an offense enumerated in chapter 20 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes involving a defaced access device, any removal, erasure, defacement, alteration, destruction, covering or other change in such access device from its original configuration performed by any person other than an authorized manufacturer of, or service provider to access devices shall be presumed to be for an unlawful purpose.
2C:20-11-Community Service for Shoplifting Convictions
Additionally, notwithstanding the term of imprisonment provided in N.J.S.2C:43-6 or 2C:43-8, any person convicted of a shoplifting offense shall be sentenced to perform community service as follows: for a first offense, at least ten days of community service; for a second offense, at least 15 days of community service; and for a third or subsequent offense, a maximum of 25 days of community service and any person convicted of a third or subsequent shoplifting offense shall serve a minimum term of imprisonment of not less than 90 days.
2C:20-11- Aggregated Value of the Merchandise
The value of the merchandise involved in a violation of this section may be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense where the acts or conduct constituting a violation were committed pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct, whether from the same person or several persons, or were committed in furtherance of or in conjunction with an organized retail theft enterprise.
Any person purposely concealing unpurchased merchandise of any store or other retail mercantile establishment, either on the premises or outside the premises of such store or other retail mercantile establishment, shall be prima facie presumed to have so concealed such merchandise with the intention of depriving the merchant of the possession, use or benefit of such merchandise without paying the full retail value thereof, and the finding of such merchandise concealed upon the person or among the belongings of such person shall be prima facie evidence of purposeful concealment; and if such person conceals, or causes to be concealed, such merchandise upon the person or among the belongings of another, the finding of the same shall also be prima facie evidence of willful concealment on the part of the person so concealing such merchandise.
Possession of Anti-shoplifting of Inventory Control Device Countermeasure
Any person who possesses or uses an anti-shoplifting or inventory control device countermeasure within any store or other retail mercantile establishment is guilty of a disorderly persons offense.
Trial Ready New Jersey Criminal Lawyers
Like in all of our cases handled at the Bianchi Law Group, our experienced staff of trial attorneys and “of counsel” attorneys are there to make sure the Government can prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. If our attorneys cannot resolve the case with a dismissal or a fair and just plea bargain, our lawyers at The Bianchi Law Group will not hesitate to select a jury and take the case to trial. That is what we do and what distinguishes us from other attorneys. We are former prosecutors, trial-tested, and certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as certified criminal trial attorneys… We will not hesitate to go to trial.