Shoplifting and Municipal Court Defense – Southern New Jersey
Recently, a 37-year-old woman was arrested for shoplifting $490 worth of baby formula at a Wegmans in Mount Laurel. She is now facing criminal charges in a New Jersey Municipal Court. Studies have shown that most adults do not shoplift out of personal need, but rather are acting out of pressures they are dealing with in their lives at the time of the crime.
New Jersey Law Prosecutes Those Accused of Shoplifting
For 1 in 11 people, shoplifting is an addiction, perhaps a coping mechanism. Was the woman arrested for stealing the baby formula at a Wegmans in Mount Laurel stealing out of need, or for some other reason? New Jersey law does not distinguish between a seasoned shoplifted and a person who acted with poor judgment just one time. If caught in the act and arrested, both individuals can be facing criminal shoplifting charges.
If you have been arrested for shoplifting charges in Mount Laurel or elsewhere in southern New Jersey, you will want to discuss your situation with an attorney skilled in defending clients against shoplifting charges.
You can expect that you will initially go through an arraignment. This is the time when you enter a plea of guilty or not guilty before a judge. Generally, this arraignment will take place in a Municipal Court. However, if the theft valued at higher than $200, you may be charged in Superior Court.
Shoplifting Conviction Problems
In either case, however, if you are convicted, you will have a criminal record. Having a record that shows you have been convicted for stealing may make it difficult for you to get a job. If you are applying for U.S. citizenship, you may not be allowed to become a citizen.
There are no diversion programs for shoplifting charges. However, in some situations, your charge could be lowered to a municipal ordinance, in which case, you would not have a criminal record. This type of conviction can also be expunged after two years.
Case Dismissals in Municipal Court
In New Jersey municipal courts, shoplifting charges can be dismissed for many reasons, including if the security guards or employee witnesses do not show up for trial. There are times when a case is dismissed simply because the employees of the company do not show up at court on the day of trial.
If you were arrested and charged for shoplifting, whether a bottle of hand lotion or a large ticket item, take action now to protect your rights and your right to a good future. Discuss your case with a criminal defense lawyer who has extensive experience successfully defending clients’ rights in municipal courts throughout southern New Jersey.