Shoplifting Attorney, Former Prosecutor
Defending You Against Alleged Shoplifting and Theft Crimes throughout Atlantic and Cape May Counties
If you have been charged with a crime for allegedly shoplifting, you could be facing serious penalties, as well as a criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life. An experienced attorney may be able to help you avoid these criminal consequences.
I am John W. Tumelty, a former Prosecutor and shoplifting defense lawyer representing clients in Atlantic County, Cape May County and other counties in South Jersey. If you have been accused of shoplifting, contact my office today to set up a free initial consultation.
Whether you were charged with shoplifting in Atlantic City, Avalon, Cape May City, Ocean City, Sea Isle City or Stone Harbor, I can help you.
What Will Happen to You if You Are Convicted?
Shoplifting is theft from a retail merchant. To be convicted of shoplifting, you do not need to have actually left a store with an item you didn’t pay for. You can also be convicted for concealing an item, altering a price tag, or transferring an item between two containers.
Generally, criminal penalties for shoplifting are based on the value of the goods the defendant is convicted of stealing.
However, the penalties can be much higher if you have prior offenses on your record. Under New Jersey law, if you are convicted of a third or subsequent shoplifting offense, even if the stolen goods were relatively inexpensive, the judge is required to sentence you to jail.
What Can I Do to Defend You Against the Charges?
I have successfully defended many clients charged with shoplifting or theft, including both local residents and Jersey Shore visitors. I will carefully investigate the facts of your case and explore all possible options for helping you avoid a conviction, including the following:
- Defending you by showing that the prosecutors have inadequate evidence
- Making restitution to the retailer to encourage them to get the charges dropped
- Showing that you were not criminally culpable due to your state of mind
Shoplifting in New Jersey is committed when a person takes or conceals merchandise, alters or removes price tags, transfers merchandise to another container, causes merchandise to “under-ring,” or removes a shopping cart from a store, with the intention of depriving the merchant. A person caught concealing merchandise can be presumed to have intended to take it without paying for it. The charge and the potential penalty are dependent on the value of the goods that were supposedly taken during the shoplifting. The following chart shows what level of theft charge, the classification, and the potential penalties.
|2nd Degree||full retail value of $75,000 or more||imprisonment of 5-10 years||fine up to $150,000|
|3rd Degree||full retail value of $500 but less than $75,000||Imprisonment of 3-5 years||fine up to $15,000|
|4th Degree||full retail value of between $200 and $500||Imprisonment up to 18 months||fine up to $10,000|
|Disorderly Persons Offense||full retail value of under $200||imprisonment up to 6 months||fine up to $1,000|
Additional mandatory penalties include:
- for a first offense, at least 10 days of community service
- for a second offense, at least 15 days of community service
- for a third or subsequent offense, up to over 35 days of community service AND imprisonment for no less than 90 days
Every case is unique, and I will take the time to evaluate and recommend the strategy that is appropriate for your specific situation. Contact me today at 609-390-4600 to discuss your options.