Facing Shoplifting Charges in Guttenberg, New Jersey
With stores and retail establishments throughout the town of Guttenberg, located in the northern portion of Hudson County, the number of arrests for shoplifting consistently composes a significant percentage of the total criminal cases that occur here. If you live in or near Guttenberg, perhaps you plan to do a little shopping along Bergenline Avenue or at the Galaxy Mall. And while you can take advantage of the lower sales tax in this urban enterprise zone, you can run into trouble with the law if you are accused of stealing from local retailers or otherwise creating your own five-finger discount. Shoplifters are aggressively prosecuted in Guttenberg and depending on the financial value of the merchandise involved, you will be charged with an indictable (felony) crime or a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor) for shoplifting.
Regardless of the degree of shoplifting offense you are charged with in Guttenberg NJ, your life may temporarily be put on hold while you are forced to defend your innocence and deal with the charges against you. Our experienced criminal defense lawyers can take the guesswork and worry from you when facing Guttenberg shoplifting charges, providing information, advice, and guidance, as well as skillful defense. To discuss your case with a local criminal attorney defending clients in Guttenberg shoplifting cases, call (201) 793-8018 or reach out to us online today. We provide free consultations and a member of our team is available now to assist you.
Guttenberg Shoplifting Offenses
According to N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11, shoplifting is the act of purposely taking or attempting to take items that are offered for sale with the intention of paying less than the advertised value. If you are alleged to have committed any of the following acts, the police may charge you with shoplifting:
(1) Taking merchandise without paying for it or causing another person to take the items without paying is shoplifting. Examples include walking out of the store with a shopping cart without paying, opening a back door and wheeling a tv out for your friend to quickly haul away, or paying for some items and not others and leaving the store.
(2) Hiding merchandise offered for sale with the intention of taking it without paying is shoplifting. This is often accomplished by putting items under your clothing, jacket, or in a purse or bag and leaving the store without paying.
(3) Price swapping or removing labels to pay a lesser amount for an item is also shoplifting. This form of shoplifting makes it appear as though the person is paying full price for the item. However, the person actually pays less for the item because they switched a price sticker with a less expensive item (i.e. paying $10 for a $200 item.)
(4) Switching containers. If you place an object lifted for sale into another container to conceal it and remove it from the store, you can be charged with shoplifting.
(5) Under-ringing. Some people may be in cahoots with the sales clerk who agrees to charge you less than the advertised price for the item. Similarly, you may swipe one item at check-out, while concealing another, resulting in a lower price. Either way, if you intentionally pay less for the item than advertised, you can be charged with shoplifting.
(6) Removing a shopping cart with the intention of depriving the store. If you remove a cart and never bring it back to the store, you can be charged with a violation of the NJ shoplifting law.
When a person is arrested for shoplifting, the degree of the offense depends on the monetary value of the items taken. This also affects which court will handle the case and the possible exposure to penalties for the person accused of the shoplifting offense.
Disorderly Persons Shoplifting Offenses in Guttenberg Municipal Court
If you took items or attempted to take items that had a value of less than $200, you will be given a summons for Guttenberg Municipal Court. This offense is not a felony but does have consequences if it is proven that you, indeed, committed a shoplifting offense. The possible consequences in these cases include up to 6 months in jail, fines of up to $1,000, probation, combination of jail and probation, community service, and repayment to the store for the items that were taken. These penalties increase as the degree of the crime goes up.
Indictable Shoplifting Crimes in Hudson County Superior Court
If it is alleged that you or your co-defendants took more than $200 in items from a store, your case will be sent to Hudson County Superior Court. If you are here, it means that you have been charged with an indictable felony offense and face state prison. The shoplifting charges that can be filed in Hudson County Superior Court will be either listed as second, third, or fourth degree crimes. To be found guilty of a more serious second degree crime for shoplifting, the state must prove that you took items valued at more than $75,000. This is the highest-level shoplifting charge by law in New Jersey and if convicted, the judge can be heavy handed and send you to jail for the next 5-10 years.
However, if you have allegedly shoplifted less than $75,000 but more than $500, the police will charge you with a third degree crime. This is probably the most commonly-filed indictable shoplifting charge. For this degree of shoplifting crime, the judge does not have to send you to state prison but, worst case scenario, you can go to jail for 3-5 years, be placed on probation, pay thousands of dollars in fines, perform mandatory community service, and/or serve jail time and then be placed on probation. In some cases, the amount involved is under $500 but more than $200, which constitutes a fourth degree crime. This is the lowest level felony that you can be charged with for shoplifting, but you can still be sentenced to prison for up to 18 months.
Guttenberg Criminal Attorneys for Your Shoplifting Case
Whether you have been charged with a felony or a misdemeanor for shoplifting in Guttenberg, New Jersey, there are any number of ways to effectively handle your case and each is specific to you. Contact us today to speak with a Guttenberg criminal lawyer for shoplifting charges and let us help you find the best defense strategy. We can be reached anytime by calling (201) 793-8018.