Hackensack Juvenile Attorneys for Theft and Shoplifting Charges
Regardless of how old you are, if you have a lapse of judgment and steal something from a store or a neighbor’s car or home, you can face serious consequences under New Jersey law. Juvenile offenders charged with theft and shoplifting can face loss of their driving privileges, community service, probation and detention, and having a juvenile record could prevent you from getting into (or staying enrolled in) college. But, you have options available. If you have been charged with delinquency, criminal defense attorney our firm can help. Our Hackensack juvenile lawyers represent clients in Criminal Courts and Family Courts throughout New Jersey, and he can help protect your future.
What Makes a Crime “Theft”?
With regard to personal property (things like jewelry, electronics, clothes and shoes), the crime of theft involves unlawfully taking or exercising control over someone else’s property with the purpose of depriving the rightful owner. In other words, theft is what most people think of as “stealing.”
What Constitutes Shoplifting in New Jersey?
Shoplifting involves stealing from a store. This can include attempting to leave the store without paying for an item or attempting to pay a lower price than the one for which the item is being sold. Examples of shoplifting include:
- Leaving a store with items hidden or stashed in your clothes or in a purse or backpack
- Leaving a store with items in a bag or shopping cart without paying
- Swapping tags with a less-expensive item in order to lower the price at checkout
- Hiding one item inside another, and then only paying for one of them
- Cutting the price tag off of an item and wearing it out of the store
The severity of a shoplifting offense is determined by the value of the goods stolen. The categories are:
- Less than $200 worth of stolen goods
- $200 to $499 worth of stolen goods
- $500 to $74,999 worth of stolen goods
- $75,000 or more worth of stolen goods
What are the Juvenile Penalties for Theft and Shoplifting in New Jersey?
Shoplifting offenses in New Jersey are divided into categories by value and the nature of the offense. Within each category, certain minimum sentencing guidelines are assigned. The following information explains each category.
- Disorderly persons offense – a shoplifting charge involving stolen goods valued under $200. This can be penalized by up to six months in jail, and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
- Fourth-degree crime – shoplifting or theft involving goods valued between $200 and $500. If convicted of these crimes, a person could face a maximum of 18 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
- Third-degree crime – shoplifting merchandise valued at $500-$75,000. This crime can result in a sentence of 3-5 years in jail and/or fines of up to $15,000.
- Second-degree crime – This is considered a crime involving the shoplifting of goods valued at $75,000 or greater. A person who has been convicted of such a crime could be behind bars for 5-10 years, and may be forced to pay fines up to $150,000.
In addition to these penalties, some shoplifting charges carry community service requirements. Usually, first-time offenders are sentenced to 10 days of service, while second-time offenders will face 15 days, and third-time offenders can receive up to 25 days. Also, any third or subsequent shoplifting conviction will result in a mandatory period of imprisonment of at least 90 days.
In juvenile delinquency cases, the penalties are determined by a Family Court judge based upon what he or she determines to be in the “best interests” of the juvenile offender. This could mean one or more forms of punishment as discussed above, but it could also mean paying restitution, going to counseling and various other forms of sentencing as imposed in the judge’s discretion. With extensive experience representing minors in juvenile delinquency cases and as a former counselor at a home for at-risk youth, Mr. Gorman knows how to seek positive outcomes that allow his clients to move on with their lives.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Hackensack Juvenile Lawyers at The Gorman Law Firm
If your or your child has been charged with theft or shoplifting in New Jersey, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with Hackensack juvenile lawyer Scott Gorman about your case in confidence, please call 201-489-9199 or tell us how to reach you online today. We serve clients throughout Bergen County, Morristown and more.