Defense Attorneys for Shoplifting Charges in North Bergen NJ
North Bergen, located in Hudson County, is easily accessible by individual motorists or public transit. For some, it may be a great place to grab a bite to eat, while for others, it is a shopping- specific destination. With major retailers such as Walmart, Target, and Home Depot situated on Tonnelle Avenue or specialty shops along Bergenline, North Bergen has something for every shopper. The popularity of these stores also makes them prime locations for shoplifting and targeted arrests. The police force in North Bergen is well-staffed with 120 full-time officers who are hired to arrest any and all potential lawbreakers, including people accused of stealing from local stores. In fact, individuals are arrested and charged with shoplifting in the Township of North Bergen with astounding frequency. If you are facing charges for shoplifting, it is paramount to understand the different degrees of these charges, what court you will attend, and the possible punishments that are authorized in accordance with the law in New Jersey. To discuss your case with a dedicated North Bergen shoplifting defense lawyer and receive a free consultation, please call (201) 793-8018 or contact us online today.
Shoplifting Charges in North Bergen, New Jersey
Common sense dictates that taking something that does not belong to you would be considered stealing, generally referred to as theft. Under New Jersey law, the crime of stealing refers to the act of taking something of value with no intention of returning it to the rightful owner. A variation of theft that specifically deals with theft from retailers is known as shoplifting, an offense explained in statute N.J.S.A. 2C: 20-11. Shoplifting occurs when a person either alone, or with the assistance of others, removes or attempts to remove an object that is being offered for sale by a retail establishment. Specifically, any person that is observed attempting to, or actually depriving a retailer of goods, to prevent them from receiving the advertised value of the item, can be charged with shoplifting.
In a wide variety of scenarios, police may charge you with an act of shoplifting. The offense will be included on a criminal complaint and the allegations summarized on an accompanying police report. To be charged with shoplifting, the police may allege that you:
1) Took something of value from the store without paying for it;
2) Concealed something offered for sale with the intention of taking it without paying;
3) Removed or switched price tags to attempt to purchase the item at a lower price;
4) Transferred the item from its original container to another container to assist in taking the item without paying for it;
5) Under-rang an item to pay less than the advertised price; or
6) Removed a shopping cart from the store with the intention of keeping it.
Often, people find themselves arrested for shoplifting based upon observations of secret shoppers or after store employees and law enforcement review surveillance videos. Once charged, you will be faced with an upcoming court case and are best served by having an experienced attorney who can assist with your defense.
Degrees of North Bergen Shoplifting Offenses
When it comes to shoplifting offenses, the total value of the items allegedly taken will be tallied to determine the degree of crime in a particular case.
If you are accused of shoplifting items in North Bergen and the amount allegedly involved is less than $200, you will be charged with a disorderly persons offense. Under these circumstances, you will attend North Bergen Municipal Court located at 4225 North Bergen Turnpike. Once there, you will have the option of pleading guilty or not guilty, filing motions, and/or having a trial. If you opt for a trial and are ultimately found guilty, you can be sentenced to a term of 6 months in the county jail. A fine as much as $1,000 can be imposed as well, together with mandatory penalties of $125. Unfortunately, the punishment does not stop there, as the court could impose a term of probation, require you to perform community service, and even mandate that you undergo substance abuse treatment.
If you are alleged to have shoplifted an item or items with an aggregate amount greater than $200, you will be charged with an indictable crime and your case will be sent to the Superior Court. If a felony shoplifting case occurs in North Bergen, the defendant is required to attend Hudson County Superior Court, located at 595 Newark Avenue in Jersey City. As the value of the items increases, so too does the seriousness of the crime and statutorily authorized sentences. For instance, a second degree crime for shoplifting more than $75,000 worth of goods permits the court to put you in jail for 5-10 years. A third degree crime for shoplifting goods with a value between $500 and $75,000 permits a sentence of 3 to 5 years in state prison. Moreover, a shoplifting crime of the fourth degree involving $200-$500 worth of merchandise allows for a sentence of up to 18 months in prison.
In addition to mandatory or discretionary prison time, community service must be imposed for all shoplifting offenses. Also, for anyone charged with shoplifting for the third time in any jurisdiction, a jail sentence of at least 90 days is required if convicted.
Need a Lawyer for North Bergen Shoplifting Case?
When shoplifting charges have been filed against you in North Bergen, you need an attorney with specific experience defending shoplifting cases in North Bergen and Hudson County. At Proetta & Oliver, the lawyers on our team know what to look for in the discovery, what defenses and options might be available to you, and ultimately, how best to represent your interests. Call us at (201) 793-8018 today for a free consultation.