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Shoplifting charge, what should I expect in court?

Lumberton, NJ |

I was stopped by loss prevention leaving a store and they called the local police department and stated I altered/removed tags from merchandise in the amount of $135.84. The violation is 2C:20-11B (3). When the police arrived the officer didnt put me in cuffs or have me go in his car. He had me follow his car while I was driving mine. Once we arrived at the police station I sat in the waiting room in the main court house and was only brought back for about 5 minutes to be photographed and fingerprinted. I was never read my miranda rights. This is my first offense, I dont have anything on my record, not even a traffic violation. Do I need a lawyer? What are the possible consequences?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. This being your 1st offense will help in mitigating your charge, my suggestion is you retain a lawyer to help you resolve this matter.

    The above answer is for information only; and does NOT constitute legal advice. This answer does not constitute, nor does it create, an attorney-client relationship between KaplunMarx, PLLC, Theodor Kapun and any receiver. The information provided on these pages is general only, and you should not act upon this information without consulting with a qualified attorney.


  2. You have been charged with the disorderly persons offense of shoplifting (DP under $200). You have an arrest record on the CCH that likely will appear on a background check. You face a fine and community service and a conviction entry that cannot be expunged for 5 years. The ability to negotiate this offense is limited since the AG has directed that shoplifting (2C:20-11) should not be reduced to a town ordinance (which has only 2 year wait to file for expungement). However a new law allowing PTI diversion and a dismissal is waiting to start. Unfortunately, this law does not apply to offense committed prior to the effective date. But many prosecutors recognizing this change of legislative attitude are cutting deals. So an experienced criminal defense attorney can assess the case to see if the State can prove its case, try to get the case dismissed on a discovery technicality, negotiate a lateral plea (one with less stigma) or possibly get a lower charge. An attorney makes sense.


  3. You're facing up to 6 months in jail, up to 1,000 fine and up to 10 days community service if you're convicted as well as paying court costs and surcharges. Being a first time offender shouldn't be the reason to contemplate whether you need legal representation. You do need legal representation even as a first time offender. Either retain the services of a private attorney or apply for the services of the public defender if you're economically eligible. Schedule a consultation in person with an attorney prior to your scheduled court date so the attorney can evaluate your case and advise you how to proceed based on your situation. Good luck in Court. Above all, plead NOT GUILTY until you have legal representation.

    DISCLAIMER This answer is provided for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you agree and understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site cannot be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices law in the State where this offense is charged; and, who has experience in the area of law you are asking questions about and with whom you would have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question, or in the State where this charge is filed. I am an attorney licensed to practice in the State of New Jersey. Consult a local attorney if your case arises outside the State of New Jersey. If you found this answer to be HELPFUL then you can vote that this answer was helpful. If you found this answer to be the BEST ANSWER of all those presented, then you can vote that this answer was the best answer presented. Also, please be advised that any response to any comments made by the asker do not create an attonrey client relationship.

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