Can Shoplifting Be a Felony?
Shoplifting is the act of intentionally taking products or merchandise from a store without paying. Shoplifting can also apply to switching tags on merchandise in order to pay a different / lower amount than the MSRP. Shoplifting is a form of theft and under some circumstances, it can be treated as a misdemeanor or a felony.
The classification of the crime. as well as what penalties a person can be assessed. depends on the value of the item that was stolen. Stolen items valued at $200, but less than $500, are considered fourth degree shoplifting and can carry a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 18 months in prison. The next tier is shoplifting an item with a value greater than $500 and less than $75,000. This is third-degree shoplifting and has a penalty of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. The most expensive tier is second-degree shoplifting, which carries with it a penalty of five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
Regardless of the value of the item, there is an additional penalty a shoplifter undergoes in the state of New Jersey – a penalty assessed by the shop from where the merchandise was taken. Retailers in New Jersey legally have the right to seek compensation for the act of shoplifting. Not unlike a fine, the charge normally amounts to $150.
It is important to note that one does not need to actually steal something to be charged with shoplifting. Be it a first offense, a lapse in judgment or beyond, a person facing shoplifting charges faces hefty penalties and extensive jail time. It is important to have a criminal defense attorney who could help.
If you or someone you know has been accused of shoplifting, time is of the essence. Contact John W. Tumelty today to discuss your defense options by calling 609.385.4010 or by filling out the online contact form.