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What are the penalties for shoplifting?

Shoplifting in New Jersey can result in serious consequences, and anyone who is considering it needs to ask if it is really worth it. The penalties are dependent on the amount and value of merchandise that is taken, but even for low-dollar goods the perpetrator can face jail time and financial consequences.

According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, a number of different acts can constitute shoplifting, and they all relate to not paying full retail for the items. These include:

  • Taking an item out of a store via hiding it in something or on your body
  • Switching the container the item is in with the intent of paying less
  • Removing or transferring the price tag
  • Taking a shopping cart from the establishment 

FindLaw discusses that the penalties shoplifters face are related to the value of what was stolen. If the value of the items is less than $200, and it is a first-time offense, the penalty is maximum jail time of 10 days. Higher-valued items carry much stiffer penalties. These include:

  • Value of $200 - $500 - maximum fine of $10,000 and maximum prison time of 18 months
  • Value of $500 - $75,000 - maximum fine of $15,000 and prison time from three to five years
  • Value of $75,000 or more - maximum fine of $150,000 and prison time from five to 10 years  

Along with the fines, convicted shoplifters are also burdened with additional monetary consequences. They are responsible to pay a shoplifting surcharge, the store's legal fees and other court costs. They may also be required to complete a certain number of community service hours. 

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What are the penalties for shoplifting? | The Law Offices of Anthony N. Palumbo