Can I Go to Jail For Shoplifting in New Jersey?

Posted March 7th, 2024.

Categories: Blog.

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Shoplifting is a common crime across the United States. Some people may not consider shoplifting a serious crime, especially when stacked against other transgressions that result in injury or even death. However, shoplifting is still a crime and can result in severe penalties, including fines and jail time.

Contact a skilled New Jersey criminal defense attorney for legal advice and representation regarding your shoplifting case.

What Are the Different Types of Shoplifting?

When you hear the word shoplifting you probably think about a person stuffing products in their pockets or purse and walking out with them. While this imagery is accurate, New Jersey state law recognizes various forms of shoplifting, including:

  1. Purposefully taking merchandise without paying
  2. Concealing merchandise
  3. Changing the price tag on a piece of merchandise
  4. Transferring a piece of merchandise to another container
  5. Under ringing the merchandise at checkout

Whether you end up leaving the store with the merchandise or not, any actions that fall under the above categories could result in shoplifting charges.

Is Jail Included in the Penalties for Shoplifting in NJ?

In New Jersey the lowest offense of shoplifting is considered a disorderly persons offense, meaning that it is a misdemeanor, not a felony, but that doesn’t mean that the punishments for shoplifting are lenient. Penalties for shoplifting in NJ vary depending on the value of the merchandise, so your charges may be considered a felony if the value is high enough.

Merchandise totaling less than $200:

  • Disorderly persons offense
  • Fines up to $1,000
  • May serve jail time up to 6 months

Merchandise valuing $200 to $500:

  • Fourth-degree felony
  • Fines up to $10,000
  • May serve jail time up to 18 months

Merchandise ranging from $500 to $75,000:

  • Third-degree felony
  • Fines up to $15,000
  • May serve jail time up to 5 years

Merchandise totaling $75,000 or more:

  • Second-degree felony
  • Fines up to $150,000
  • May serve jail time up to 10 years

Is There a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is the period in which filing charges is allowed. For some crimes, there is a time constraint meaning that after the statute of limitations expires, lawsuits or charges cannot be filed and the accused cannot be prosecuted for that particular crime. There is a statute of limitations in New Jersey for shoplifting, but like the penalties, it will depend on the value of the merchandise involved.

If you shoplift less than $200 worth of items, the statute of limitations is one year from the date that the offense was discovered.

If the value of the merchandise exceeds $200, it is considered a felony. Because the charges are higher, the statute of limitations is longer. For felony shoplifting, the statute of limitations is five years from the date that the offense was discovered.

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