How Serious Is My Shoplifting Case?

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What Degree of Shoplifting Am I Charged With?

Shoplifting comes in all shapes, forms and sizes and can involve anything from a 5 cents piece of gum that you walked out of the candy store with or an elaborate scheme to steal or underpay for tens of thousands in electronics from Best Buy. At Proetta & Oliver, our New Jersey shoplifting lawyers have seen it all and can quickly get a handle on how serious your charges will be. For instance, any charge that involves less than $200 of stolen merchandise is graded as a disorderly persons offense of shoplifting which will be handled in the municipal court of the town the crime took place in. If the charge involved anything over $200 then it is automatically an indictable crime, also known as a felony, and will be sent to the County Superior Court as it is much more serious and can involve mandatory state prison in some circumstances even for a first time offender.

How Serious Are My Shoplifting Charges?

Shoplifting under 2C:20-11(b) is considered a theft crime and, like all theft crimes, the seriousness of the charge is directly correlated to how much money was involved in the theft. There are 4 grades of shoplifting in New Jersey which we break down be below into an easy self-explanatory table for your reading convenience. For more information regarding the penalties for shoplifting feel free to visit our other pages.

Grade of CrimeAmount of Goods StolenPenalties for Shoplifting
Disorderly Persons Offense ShopliftingLess Than $200 in merchandiseUp to 6 months in county jail*
4th Degree ShoplifitngBetween $200 and $500 in merchandiseUp to 18 months in state prison
3rd Degree ShopliftingBetween $500 – $75,000 in merchandiseUp to 3 – 5 years in state prison
2nd Degree ShopliftingMore than $75,000 in merchandiseUp 5 – 10 years in state prison, presumption of incarceration


However, it is important to keep in the mind that the table above does not explain companion charges for shoplifting such as Organized Retail Theft Enterprise, Burglary Tools, Shoplifting Robbery, Receiving Stolen Property, and Conspiracy to Shoplift. For more detailed information on those crimes and their respective penalties, we suggest you visit those individual pages.