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Shoplifting is defined as purposely taking, carrying away, transferring merchandise from a store or other retail mercantile with the intent to deprive the store of its possession, use or benefit and without paying for the merchant full retail value.

Another definition is based upon purposely concealing merchandise offered for sale by a store or retail mercantile with the intent to deprive the store of the benefit of the merchandise. The shoplifting statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11 mandates 10 days of community services for the first offense. If you are convicted of three or more shoplifting charges, you will be sentenced to a mandatory minimum three (3) months of jail time.

In New Jersey, most shoplifting matters are handled at the municipal court level, however, if the amount taken exceeds $200 you could be faced with an indictable shoplifting charge in Superior Court.

Shoplifting Diversion Programs

In 2013 Governor Christie implemented a diversion program for certain persons who qualify in Municipal Court to have charges administratively dismissed. Shoplifting qualifies under the diversionary program wherein a conditional dismissal allows eligible first-time offenders charged with certain disorderly persons offenses. Under the new law, a defendant who is charged with a petty disorderly offense may apply into the program, provided the following have been met

  • Has no previously convictions, and
  • Has not previously participated in a conditional discharge or PTI program.

Furthermore, to qualify you must be perform the following

  • Have your fingerprints taken,
  • Allow for your criminal history to be run, and
  • Pay the court an application fee of $75.

The diversionary program is not guaranteed, and in fact, it is discretionary with the judge, but if you qualify your charges will be stayed pending final outcome, and if you successfully complete the program your charges will be dismissed. Once you have successfully completed the program your charges will be reported to the State Bureau of Identification, but the charge is now not considered as a conviction on your record.

Many of the shoplifting charges we defend are due to lack of judgment by minors or kids at the mall who think they can get away with quickly putting a t-shirt under their jacket. Contact The Mark Law Firm and let us defend you through this tough times. We are dedicated, aggressive and compassionate team representing clients in Somerset County. Call us at 908-460-8996 to set up your consultation now.