Mandatory Jail Time

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Mandatory Jail Time for a Shoplifting Charge NJ?

Pursuant to NJSA 2C:20-11b, shoplifting can be either a disorderly persons offense or a second, third or fourth degree felony. The underlying degree of the shoplifting charge and the individual’s prior criminal history is normally a good indicator of whether or not the individual is realistically facing jail time if convicted. For a first time offender, unless the individual is facing a second degree shoplifting charge, they would most likely be facing a probationary sentence. With that being said, the sentencing Judge technically has the authority to not send someone to jail if they see fit, regardless of the degree or if the individual has a prior criminal history. This hold true for most crimes in New Jersey, including burglary, theft by deception, possession of burglary tools, drug possession and trespassing. However, if a Defendant is to be convicted of shoplifting for a third or subsequent time, the sentencing Judge will have no discretion whatsoever and must impose a term of imprisonment for not less than 90 days. This is rather unique, as there are very few criminal offense that exist under the New Jersey criminal code that would automatically remove the sentencing Judges discretion. Furthermore, the phrase “a term of imprisonment for not less than 90 days” does give the sentencing Judge the ability to impose a longer prison sentence if they see fit. For more information on the potential penalties for a shoplifting conviction in New Jersey, please click the link.

How can an Attorney Help?

Another important thing to discuss is the fact that a conviction for a shoplifting offense in another State will count towards the number of shoplifting convictions for sentencing purposes in New Jersey. Furthermore, there is no deference given to the age of the prior convictions as well. So if two of the prior shoplifting convictions happened over thirty years ago, they would still count for sentencing purposes. With that being said, there are motions that can be filed and amendments that can be obtained in order to try and get around the mandatory imprisonment aspect. Remember, just because you are charged with a shoplifting offense does not mean you will be convicted of a shoplifting offense. If  you have been accused of shoplifting at stores like JCPenney, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Walmart, ShopRite, Bloomingdale’s or elsewhere in counties like Bergen, Morris, Monmouth, Middlesex, Ocean, Union, Mercer, Somerset, Hudson or Passaic, the New Jersey shoplifting defense attorneys at Proetta & Oliver can help. If you would like to speak to one of our shoplifting defense attorneys about your options then please contact our office at (732) 856-9959. Our attorneys are available immediately for free initial consultation.