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How can I fight a shoplifting charge in New Jersey?

March 21, 2024 Uncategorized

 

How to Fight a Shoplifting Charge in New Jersey

Getting charged with shoplifting in New Jersey can be really scary. The penalties seem harsh, and you might not know where to turn for help. But there are things you can do to fight the charges–you have rights! This article will walk you through some of the most effective strategies for beating a shoplifting case in NJ.

Understand the Shoplifting Laws

The first thing to know is that shoplifting charges fall under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11 in New Jersey law. There are a few key things to understand about how these laws work:

  • Shoplifting includes more than just taking merchandise without paying. You can also be charged for concealing items, altering price tags, transferring items to a different container, or under-ringing items at checkout.
  • The penalties depend on the value of the allegedly stolen merchandise. The more it’s worth, the harsher the potential punishment.
  • Even small thefts under $200 are “disorderly persons offenses” in NJ and can mean fines up to $1000 and 6 months in jail.

So right off the bat, you can see why you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to fight the charges. Even misdemeanor shoplifting carries serious penalties in New Jersey.

Work with Your Lawyer on the Best Defense Strategies

There are a number of effective legal defenses that a skilled attorney can use to get your shoplifting charges dismissed or reduced. Here are some of the most common strategies:

You Didn’t Take Anything

Just being accused of shoplifting doesn’t make you guilty. If you didn’t actually steal anything, your attorney can argue there is no evidence that a crime was committed. Security footage, receipts, and other records can help prove your innocence.

Lack of Criminal Intent

In New Jersey, prosecutors have to prove you intended to shoplift–it can’t be an honest mistake. Forgetting to pay for an item under your cart or misunderstanding store policies could show you lacked criminal intent.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Unlawful Search or Detention

If store security or police violated your rights by detaining or searching you improperly, evidence against you may get thrown out. Your lawyer can argue the search was illegal.

Mental Health Issues

Shoplifting is sometimes tied to mental illness like kleptomania. Your attorney may be able to get charges dismissed if it can be shown you have a condition requiring treatment, not jail time.

Wrong Description of Items

If the police report or complaint describes the wrong items taken, inaccurately values them, or gets other key details wrong, your lawyer can challenge the credibility of the charges.

Discovery Violations

Prosecutors are required to share all evidence with the defense in a timely manner. If they fail to turn over discovery, your attorney can get evidence thrown out or charges dismissed.

Diversion Programs Offer Second Chances

New Jersey has diversion programs like Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) that can provide a second chance if you have little or no criminal history. PTI involves probation, fines, and community service, but charges get dismissed after completion. Your lawyer can help you apply for these programs as an alternative to jail time.

What to Do If You or a Child is Charged

Being accused of shoplifting as a juvenile brings added complications. Kids can be detained temporarily, and parents may be contacted. While scary, juvenile charges are handled in family court and penalties are usually less severe. An attorney can negotiate probation or diversion to avoid a permanent criminal record.

The Importance of an Experienced Lawyer

Trying to navigate New Jersey’s shoplifting laws alone is difficult. The penalties seem harsh, and the statutes complex. But an experienced criminal defense lawyer can thoroughly evaluate your case, identify the best defense strategies, and fight to get charges reduced or dismissed. Don’t go it alone. The right attorney can make all the difference.

Fighting shoplifting charges in New Jersey takes knowledge of the law, skill negotiating with prosecutors, and experience getting charges dismissed. The stakes are high, but with an aggressive defense, many shoplifting cases can be won. Don’t wait to seek experienced legal help.

 

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CLAIRE BANKS

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RAJESH BARUA

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