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Understanding the penalities of shoplifting in New Jersey

People who intentionally steal from individuals or businesses can receive serious legal consequences. Shoplifting is a type of theft that carries potential penalties such as imprisonment and fines.

Individuals facing shoplifting charges in New Jersey should know the basics of the state-mandated penalties before attending their court dates.

How does New Jersey law define shoplifting?

Shoplifting offenses must meet two elements: intentionally taking merchandise for sale and depriving the rightful owner of the items without paying for them. According to the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, acts of shoplifting include:

       Purposely changing or removing the price tag on any item and then trying to purchase the merchandise a lower value than the retail cost.

       Taking a shopping cart from a retail store without consent.

       Removing merchandise from its display container and transferring it to another with the intent to not pay full retail value.

       Intentionally under-ringing an item at checkout.

       Concealing any item for sale on his or her person without paying the store the value of the merchandise.

What are the criminal penalties?

New Jersey law classifies shoplifting offenses by the value of the stolen merchandise. Shoplifting items with a value of more than $75,000 is a second-degree offense and carries a penalty of five to ten years in prison, plus a fine of up to $150,000. When someone takes merchandise valued less than $75,000 but more than $500, it is a third-degree offense. This is punishable with a prison sentence of three to five years and a $15,000 fine.

If someone shoplifts merchandise valued at more than $200 and less than $500, the prosecutor will charge him or her with a fourth-degree offense which means a $10,000 fine and up to 18 months in prison.

Knowing the penalties for shoplifting in New Jersey will help people understand what they face with their criminal charges.