Shoplifting Charge Lawyer | Toms River, Ocean County, NJ

Shoplifting is defined as the act of taking something or concealing items with no intention to pay for them. The crime is also called retail theft or concealment of merchandise.

Examples of Shoplifting:


  • Hiding goods in a pocket, purse, or backpack without intending to pay for them (secreting goods)
  • Removing retail packaging or repackaging a product to avoid paying for them
  • Manipulating merchandise (changing price tags)
  • Removing security tags
  • Manipulating products




Shoplifting Laws in New Jersey

Under New Jersey law, shoplifting is a criminal offense. In the past, under theft law, shoplifting was created like a larceny case. Now, most states, including New Jersey, have laws specifically regarding shoplifting. These laws clearly outline the terms of shoplifting, how retailers should behave when dealing with shoplifters including how shoplifters should be treated. The law further describes the elements of a shoplifting charge and penalties for the crime.

Under the law, retailers are allowed to detain a shoplifting suspect. However, laws are intact to protect the retailer and the suspect. Retailers must adhere to lawful detention and questioning procedures. The use of force is not allowed in any situation. Retailers must also have probable cause and evidence for detention. Retailers are also protected from civil rights charges when detaining a suspected shoplifter.



Convicted of Shoplifting

To be convicted of shoplifting, two elements must be present.

  1. Item was intentionally hidden, or an item that was meant for sale was taken without being paid for
  2. There was no intent to pay for the items taken

Shoplifting Charges in NJ

A shoplifting charge is based on the value of goods taken, state law, and whether the shoplifter has a previous criminal record for the same crime. Depending on these factors, the crime can be a misdemeanor, felony, or infraction. A shoplifting infraction or misdemeanor usually comes with fines, probation or deferral, and restitution. A felony shoplifting charge attracts much larger fines and possible jail time.

What to Do When Accused of Shoplifting

If you are accused of shoplifting, you should limit your conversations with police or retailers and contact a defense lawyer immediately. If you take matters into your own hands, you can end up making your situation worst.

Caught Concealing Merchandise

  • Do not leave the store. Fleeing the store can be used against you later.
  • Do not speak with security or police.
  • Contact and hire a criminal defense lawyer immediately.
  • Seek restitution.
  • Attend all court sessions, failure to attend can cause an arrest warrant to be issued.

Legal Defense for Shoplifting

The ideal thing to do when accused of shoplifting is to seek a settlement with the retailer. If a retailer refuses the settlement and sued, you may have to plead guilty. Defense against a shoplifting charge is expensive, but it can provide you with a favorable outcome because several elements must be met to prove the charges.

Being caught shoplifting can be shameful and embarrassing. When you contact Daniel Berger, ESQ., there is a favorable way to deal with the charges. Contact Mr. Berger anytime for a free consultation and immediate assistance.