Any crime in New Jersey can be serious and that includes shoplifting. In many instances, shoplifting might be committed by young people who are doing it for excitement or from peer pressure. In others, people are stealing because they do not want to pay for the items they are taking. Knowing the state penalties might dissuade some from committing the crime or help with the defense if arrested.
The way shoplifting will be graded is based on the retail value of what was stolen. A person who is arrested after stealing merchandise that was valued at $75,000 or more will face a second degree crime. In the event that there is a conviction on these charges, there will be serious consequences, including a jail term of 5 to 10 years, a fine of up to $150,000 or both. For shoplifting to be a third degree offense, the merchandise must cost between $500 and less than $75,000. If there is a conviction for a third degree offense, the fine is up to $15,000, a jail sentence of between 3 and 5 years or both.
Shoplifting will be a fourth degree offense, if the merchandise is valued at a minimum of $200 and less than $500. This is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, up to 18 months in prison or both. There will be a disorderly offense, if the merchandise that was taken is worth less than $200. The person, if convicted, faces 6 months in prison, a fine of up to $1,000 or both. Finally, first-time offenders face 10 days community service. The second offense results in 15 days, and a third offense or more leads to up to 25 days and a minimum of 90 days in jail.
Many people are not aware of the potentially serious consequences that will accompany a charge and conviction of shoplifting. Whether it is a young person who makes a mistake or a person who steals something significant of major value, the most important aspect of a case in which there are theft charges is to avoid the maximum penalties. For assistance with that, a legal professional experienced in state law and shoplifting cases can help.