Often times, shoplifting cases involve an individual being stopped by a loss prevention agent before actually leaving the store property with the unpaid merchandise. What most people don't realize is that you can still be charged, and convicted, of shoplifting even if you never make it through the exit.
There is a presumption in the law that any person who conceals store merchandise is presumed to have purposely concealed that merchandise with the intention to remove it from the store without paying full value for the product. If you are found to have unpaid merchandise in, or even under, your purse, backpack, or jacket while shopping, it could be presumed that you intended to steal that merchandise. You can be stopped and charged with shoplifting before ever leaving the store.& ;
Under New Jersey law, if the value of the stolen property is under $200, the case will be graded as a disorderly person's offense and heard in the local municipal court. A conviction for a disorderly person's shoplifting offense carries penalties including fines, community service, and a mandatory minimum of 90 days in jail for a third offense. For those reasons, it's important that you hire an experienced lawyer to help navigate your case through the municipal court system. If you have questions about your case, schedule a consultation with one of the criminal defense lawyers at Winegar, Wilhelm, Glynn & Roemersma, P.C.