Paramus NJ Juvenile Shoplifting Lawyer
Defense Attorney for Juveniles and Young Adults in Bergen County and New Jersey
In New Jersey, the term shoplifting can refer to many things. In fact, there are six separate actions which constitute shoplifting under New Jersey law. The most commonplace form of shoplifting is carrying away merchandise from a retailer without paying for it. However, other less obvious forms of shoplifting include: under-ringing merchandise for yourself or someone else, removing or altering a label or price tag, transferring an item to another container, and even taking a shopping cart off the premises. Depending on the estimated value of the stolen merchandise, the degree of shoplifting charges and associated penalties can vary significantly. In addition, the potential consequences for a juvenile versus an adult found guilty of shoplifting can be vastly different.
If you are a juvenile or young adult charged with shoplifting in New Jersey, it is highly advisable to have an experienced defense attorney on your side. Alissa Hascup is an extremely knowledgeable former prosecutor who now serves as an aggressive advocate for juvenile and adult criminal defendants across the state. With offices in Hackensack, Little Falls, Camden, and Morristown, Ms. Hascup represents clients in courts from Bergen County to Essex County, and Morris County to Monmouth County. With her legal prowess and superior results, Alissa has been named one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers for Criminal Defense in America, by the National Trial Lawyers Association. To learn more about how she can help you fight your shoplifting charges, contact her offices today at 862-257-1200 for a free initial consultation.
Shoplifting Offenses in New Jersey
Shoplifting is a criminal violation in New Jersey, codified in section N.J.S.A. 2C: 20-11 of the State s criminal code. The degree of shoplifting charges is determined by the estimated monetary value of the merchandise allegedly stolen. The specific parameters for grading shoplifting offenses in New Jersey are as follows:
- Merchandise valued under $200: disorderly persons offense
- Merchandise valued between $200 and $500: fourth degree crime
- Merchandise valued between $500 and $75,000: third degree crime
- Merchandise valued above $75,000: second degree crime
Notably, the prosecution can elect to aggregate the amounts associated with several shoplifting offenses to charge a defendant with a more serious degree of shoplifting. For example, if you are believed to have committed three separate shoplifting offenses, stealing approximately $200 worth of merchandise each time, the State can add these amounts together and charge you with third degree shoplifting (a felony), as opposed to three disorderly persons offenses.
Juvenile Charges for Shoplifting in New Jersey
If you are charged with shoplifting in New Jersey and you are not yet 18, you are legally a juvenile, and your case will be adjudicated under the rules of the juvenile justice system. This means that you will be required to appear in the Family Division of the Superior Court in the county in which you live. So, if you live in Union and you are charged with shoplifting in Paramus, your case will be heard in the Family Division of the Union County Superior Court, not the Bergen County Superior Court.
Your case will be decided by one Family Court judge and you are not entitled to a trial by jury. The legal standard in juvenile cases is the best interests of the child.” If you are found guilty, you are adjudicated delinquent and the court will consider a variety of factors before determining the appropriate sentence. You are required to have an attorney who will represent you during these proceedings.
If you are found guilty of shoplifting, the following penalties may be imposed:
- Juvenile Shoplifting Disorderly Persons Offense: 6 months in a juvenile detention center
- Juvenile Fourth Degree Shoplifting: up to 1 year in a juvenile detention center
- Juvenile Third Degree Shoplifting: up to 2 years in a juvenile detention center
- Juvenile Second Degree Shoplifting: up to 3 years in a juvenile detention center
The above penalties may be accompanied by others such as community service and/or restitution. Since the focus of juvenile court is rehabilitation and reform, alternative sentences are available and may be imposed instead of detention. For instance, you may receive mental health counseling, probation, or what is known as a “deferred disposition.”
New Jersey Shoplifting Charges for Young Adults
If you are 18 or older and charged with shoplifting in New Jersey, you are legally an adult. If you are charged with a disorderly persons offense, your case will be adjudicated in the Municipal Court associated with the location of the alleged offense. On the other hand, if you are charged with an indictable offense (second, third, or fourth degree crime), your case will be decided in the Superior Court in the county where the alleged offense occurred. Depending on the degree of your shoplifting charges, you may face the following penalties, which are the same for all adults:
- Shoplifting Disorderly Persons Offense: up to 6 months in the county jail and a fine of up to $1,000
- Fourth Degree Shoplifting: up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison
- Third Degree Shoplifting: between 3 and 5 years in New Jersey State Prison
- Second Degree Shoplifting: between 5 and 10 years in New Jersey State Prison
In addition to the above penalties, the court may impose community service and/or restitution payments. However, if you have no prior criminal record, you may be eligible for a diversionary program such as Conditional Dismissal or Pre-Trial Intervention. If you successfully complete one of these programs, the charges against you will be dismissed.
Contact a Woodbridge NJ Juvenile Shoplifting Attorney Today
If you are a juvenile or young adult charged with shoplifting in New Jersey, it is imperative to know your rights. With Alissa Hascup on your side, you can rest-assured that they will be protected. Contact The Law Offices of Alissa Hascup to discuss your case and receive a free consultation. Simply call 862-257-1200 today.