Harrison Shoplifting Lawyer
Harrison, located in the western part Hudson County, is accessible by car or public transportation. Its location on the Palisades River, and the fact that it is only miles from NYC, makes it a unique locale for visiting, shopping, working, and living. Entrepreneurs and business owners recognize how much the town has to offer and they often pick Harrison as the perfect destination to set up shop in the form of stores, restaurants, and industry. Due to the popularity of the town, it can also be a hotspot for shoplifting. The Harrison Police force is ready to protect its residents and economy by arresting shoplifters. Those prosecuted for such crimes face jail, fines, and the possible stigma of becoming a convicted criminal. The following provides answers to some of the most commonly asked questions concerning shoplifting in Harrison, New Jersey. If you are the one arrested and charged with a shoplifting offense, be sure to contact our highly qualified Harrison Shoplifting Defense Attorneys to speak about the specific circumstances surrounding your arrest and how we can assist you with defending your best interests. You can reach out anytime for a free consultation. Simply call (201)-793-8018.
How can I be charged with shoplifting in Harrison, New Jersey?
If you took something, tried to take something, or acted in cahoots with others to take something offered for sale without paying the full value, you may be charged with shoplifting. The possible shoplifting offenses range from typical stealing from a retailer; to under-ringing merchandise for you, a friend or family member; as well as taking a shopping cart off the premises; removing a security tag; or switching the item’s container in an attempt to pay less or leave without paying at all.
If I took something from a store by accident, will I still be charged in Harrison for shoplifting?
Shoplifting is an intentional act. It is not an accident, an act of neglect, or a mistake. So, if your child threw a candy bar or small toy in your cart that went unnoticed and you left without paying, chances are that you will not be charged with the offense and should certainly not be convicted in a court of law. The Harrison police and prosecutors seek to punish intentional violators, not those who take items by mistake. However, this is not to say that you will never be charged when you take something accidentally. If you are charged, our Harrison shoplifting lawyers will review the surrounding circumstances and evidence to demonstrate to the prosecutor and the judge that it was not your intention to shoplift. For instance, store surveillance video, items purchased, receipts, and the value of the items taken can all provide clarity to the prosecuting authorities. Having zero criminal history also works in your favor when shoplifting charges arise from a simple misunderstanding.
What happens after I am arrested for shoplifting in Harrison NJ?
Once arrested for shoplifting, you will be taken to the police station and processed. The police will tally the items taken and make a determination as to whether you should be charged with a disorderly persons offense (value less than $200) or an indictable crime ($200 or more). If charged with a disorderly persons offense, your case will be put on a summons and you will attend the Harrison Municipal Court. Your attorney will try to work the case out by way of plea, downgrade, or dismissal but ultimately, you are entitled to a trial in which the state will attempt to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed a shoplifting crime under the statute, which is N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11.
If the amount in your shoplifting case exceeds $200, you can be charged on either a warrant-complaint or summons, and the matter will head to Hudson County Superior Court as a felony charge. If you are charged on a warrant, you may be released with a new court date, released with reporting conditions, or held until your case is complete. However, before you are held until your case is resolved, you are entitled to a detention hearing in which the judge decides whether to release you or hold you in jail. Factors that the court considers in making such a determination are: your danger to the community, the likelihood that you may commit a new offense while on release, or the chance that you will not appear in court as required. For this stage of the case, you are entitled to have an attorney representing you, which is highly advisable.
What punishment do I face if convicted of a Harrison shoplifting offense?
In both the Hudson County Superior Court and Harrison Municipal Court, you face a range of penalties if convicted of shoplifting. Many factors are taken into consideration when the court sentences you. For example, the value of the items involved, your prior criminal history, number of prior shoplifting convictions in any jurisdiction, and your willingness to seek help are all important elements relied upon by the court when handing down a sentence. Nonetheless, there are some aspects of sentencing that are required by the State. For instance, if this is your third offense for shoplifting, the judge must sentence you to a minimum of 90 days in jail and community service. Also, if convicted of a second degree crime, unless you receive Drug Court, a plea deal or downgraded charge, or an exception into the Pre-Trial Intervention Program (PTI), pack your bags because there is a presumption that you will be sentenced to prison.
Second degree shoplifting charges, involving $75,000 worth of merchandise or more, is punishable by a maximum fine of $150,000 plus a prison term of 5-10 years. As for third degree crimes, the value of the items must fall within the range of $500 to $74,999. If convicted, you face a fine up to $15,000 and prison time of 3-5 years, but there is a presumption against prison for a first offense. Fourth degree shoplifters are charged for allegedly stealing $200 to $499 worth of goods, for which they may be sentenced to fines not exceeding $10,000 and incarceration not exceeding 18 months, with the same non-presumption of prison for a first time offender. Disorderly persons shoplifting offenses are the lowest degree of crime for which you may be arrested in Harrison, applicable to cases wherein the total value is up to $199. The possible fine tops out at $1,000 and county jail time is not to exceed 180 days.
Of note: all persons convicted of shoplifting can be placed on probation for as much as 5 years. You can also do a split sentence in which some county jail time is imposed as well as a term of probation taking effect upon release. Violating the terms of probation, i.e. not meeting with your officer, not obtaining drug treatment, testing positive for illegal substances, not paying restitution, failure to perform community service, or failing to pay fines can result in going to jail for the remainder of your probationary term.
Am I definitely going to jail or can you beat my Harrison NJ shoplifting case?
Before it happens, we can never say for a fact what would happen with your case. However, what we do know is that our Harrison defense attorneys have years of experience with shoplifting cases and we know the proofs needed to sustain a conviction. From that angle, we can pick apart the merits of the state’s case against you and possibly seek a dismissal, a downgrade, plea to something less serious, admission into a program like PTI or conditional dismissal, or any other outcome that is satisfactory to you. To discuss your shoplifting case and your legal needs, contact us at (201)-793-8018. Consultations are free and we are here to provide you with personalized guidance and more information.