Why do I Need an Attorney for my Shoplifting Case?
There is no plea bargaining shoplifting offenses in New Jersey. This means that establishing a legal defense is paramount. Although the law does not allow for it, that does not mean that there isn't room for negotiation. In fact, there are many instances where a experienced lawyer will be able to negotiate an outcome in shoplifting case that is extraordinarily beneficial, but isn't a plea bargain. I know that sounds a little cryptic, but I have handled hundreds of shoplifting cases with great outcomes and these negotiations are part of the reason.
First Offense Shoplifting
The maximum penalties you can face for first offense shoplifting depend on the how it is charged, the maximum most would face would be 6 months in jail and a $1000 fine. This is the max for a disorderly persons offense. The likelihood that would ever happen to you is very remote. The real concern is a conviction for shoplifting on your criminal record. The prospect for employment would certainly be a concern as would immigration status (deportation). Additionally, you would have to wait minimally five years to remove it from your record, ten years if it was an indictable offense (special circumstances apply for a five year period in certain circumstances). Ten days of community service is also mandatory if convicted. Probation is possible. In many instances, this can all be avoided with good representation.
Shoplifting Second Offense
The penalties for second offense disorderly persons shoplifting are similar to above, except the community service goes up to at least 15 days of community service. Probation is likely. If accused for a second time, you are less likely to get the benefit of the doubt in a situation that would otherwise call for it. A trial may be more likely. If this were a second charge of indictable offense shoplifting, you would lose the presumption of non-incarceration, meaning jail is a possibility. Once again, I have years of experience litigating these cases and can help. Please feel free to ask any questions you have
Third or Subsequent Offense Shoplifting
The big penalty is a mandatory 3 month jail sentence if you are convicted. Twenty five days of community service is also added. If the case is over $200 and this is a third indictable offense, then the situation is more serious and you could be facing more jail time.
Make Sure you Protect Your Rights
The most important thing you can do when your are charged with shoplifting is to get an attorney involved early on. This is not because I want you to hire me. I know that an experienced shoplifting attorney can dramatically alter the course of your case for the better. Don't think that you will be able to walk into court and talk your way out of it. It won't happen like that. Take the steps necessary to protect your interest.
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