FAQs About Shoplifting
Defense When You Need It Most in New Jersey
New Jersey laws outline heavy penalties for shoplifting. Shoplifting is taken very seriously because it costs retailers - and, in turn, customers - billions of dollars every year. If you have been accused of stealing a store's merchandise, you should be aware that the penalties you face could impact every aspect of your life. You need strong defense from a New Jersey shoplifting lawyer at Clark & Clark, L.L.C. As former prosecutors, we know how to defend you. Read these answers to some questions we often receive concerning shoplifting - or call our firm today to schedule a free case consultation and learn more.
Can a shoplifting record be expunged?
In many cases, yes. Some restrictions apply, and there is a mandatory waiting period of 5 or 10 years. Our expungement lawyers can help you understand whether or not you are eligible to have your shoplifting record expunged. Learn more about expunging a shoplifting record.
Do young people shoplift more than adults?
No. Studies have that 75 percent of shoplifters - or 3 in every 4 shoplifters - are adults. It is interesting to note, however, that approximately 55 percent of adult shoplifters say they began the practice in their teen years.
Could I go to jail for shoplifting?
Yes. Even a disorderly persons offense carries the possibility of imprisonment lasting no more than six months. Second-degree shoplifting - in which the value of the goods stolen is equal to or above $75,000 - could mean up to 10 years in prison in the state of New Jersey.
How much does shoplifting cost retailers in the United States every year?
About $13 billion in goods and merchandise are stolen from U.S. retailers annually. This amounts to approximately $35 million per day! In addition, retailers are not the only ones who suffer. American consumers are also hurt by shoplifting because the prices of goods are forced to increase to compensate for these losses. It also hurts the nation as a whole because of the loss of sales taxes.
Does one gender shoplift more than the other?
A study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry in 2008 stated that men were discovered to shoplift more often than women. Other studies, however, suggest different results. In any case, the numbers are very close.
What retailers have a "zero tolerance policy" regarding shoplifting?
The majority of major retail chains in the United States have strong zero-tolerance policies for those caught shoplifting in their stores. These chains include Best Buy, Sears, Winn-Dixie, Office Depot, Macy's, Lord & Taylor, JC Penney, Dillards, Marshall's, Home Depot, Publix, Sears, and many more. Some chains have reversed their former zero-tolerance policies, including Wal-Mart.
Does a store clerk or employee have the right to strip search a person suspected of shoplifting?
No. It is illegal for a store employee to use unnecessary force or to strip search a customer suspected of stealing store merchandise. If the suspect is a minor, there are additional rules and restrictions. The store may, however, detain an individual suspected of shoplifting.
Do people shoplift because of need?
About 3 percent of all shoplifters are "professionals" who steal merchandise for profit, including drug addicts and organized shoplifting gangs. Most shoplifters, however, identify the practice as compulsory and / or a coping or relief mechanism. These individuals shoplift, on average, about 1.6 times per week. Support groups and resource centers such as the Cleptomaniacs and Shopaholics Anonymous (CASA), Shoplifters Alternative, and National Association for Shoplifting Prevention exist to help people who struggle with a shoplifting habit.