Charged with Shoplifting from JCPenney in New Jersey?

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Shoplifting from JCPenney in New Jersey

Shoplifting from JCPenney in New Jersey

Shoplifting from JCPenney in New Jersey is a serious offense. If convicted, the accused may be ordered to pay a large fine, serve time in jail, or both. They also will have the burden of a criminal record for years into the future.

At Rosenblum Law, we have experienced criminal defense attorneys who can represent you if you are charged with shoplifting from JCPenny in New Jersey. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

In this article, we explain New Jersey shoplifting laws, how JCPenny deals with shoplifters, and what consequences you might face if charged with shoplifting from JCPenny.

Understanding Shoplifting Laws in New Jersey

Under New Jersey law, shoplifting can take various forms, including intentionally:

  • Taking merchandise with the intent to keep it
  • Concealing merchandise so that it’s not readily visible 
  • Altering, transferring, or removing a price tag so you pay less for something than it is worth
  • Moving merchandise to another container with the goal of stealing the merchandise.  

Shoplifting in New Jersey is broken up into several degrees of severity, depending on the value of the item(s) taken.

  • If the merchandise is valued at $200 or less, the accused will likely be charged with a disorderly persons offense. A conviction can include up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. 
  • If the merchandise is valued at between $200 and $500, the accused may be charged with a fourth degree crime. If convicted, they could be ordered to serve up to 18 months in state prison and fined up to $10,000.
  • If the merchandise is valued between $500 and $75,000, the accused may be charged as a third degree crime. If convicted, they could be ordered to serve up to five years in state prison and fined up to $15,000.
  • If the merchandise is valued at more than $75,000, the accused may be charged with a second degree offense, which carries a mandatory prison sentence of ten years and a fine of up to $150,000.

In addition, New Jersey law provides that someone convicted of shoplifting has to perform community service. The amount of community service depends on the degree of shoplifting: ten days for a first offense, at least 15 days for a second offense, and at least 25 days for a third offense.

A shoplifting conviction has other negative consequences as well. These include hindering someone’s ability to obtain a green card, obtain a professional license, apply to college, and even secure housing. 

Shoplifting from JCPenney

Since shoplifting attempts are fairly common, the majority of JCPenney stores in New Jersey and elsewhere are staffed by “loss prevention officers” (security guards) whose job is to identify suspicious shoppers who may be hiding merchandise and trying to steal it. Loss prevention officers are usually trained to record suspicious shoppers on surveillance video. Then, a loss prevention officer will usually detain the shopper and notify law enforcement. 

This is why attempting to shoplift at JC Penny is risky. In many cases, a loss prevention officer will highlight specific video footage for law enforcement, indicating activity that may have been associated with a shoplifting attempt. In addition to surveillance footage, JCPenny personnel and security officers are often willing to testify if a shoplifting case goes to trial. 

Factors Considered in Prosecuting Shoplifting from JCPenney

A prosecutor must establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused committed an act that meets specific legal requirements for shoplifting. These elements include that the accused:

  • Intended to steal items from the JCPenny store 
  • Was the one who tried to shoplift 

Common defenses that can be raised against a shoplifting charge include: 

  • Lack of intent to steal items (the defendant never meant to leave the store with the merchandise or pay less for it than it was worth)
  • Mistaken identity (someone other than the defendant was the one who tried to shoplift)
  • Misunderstanding (the defendant wasn’t actually shoplifting, but was doing something that might have looked like it)
  • Duress (i.e. the defendant was forced by someone else to shoplift)

How an Attorney Can Assist Someone Accused of Shoplifting from JCPenney in New Jersey

An experienced New Jersey shoplifting defense lawyer can help someone accused of shoplifting in a number of ways. There will typically be an initial consultation where the accused can explain what happened, and the lawyer can discuss possible defenses based on the specific circumstances. 

If the lawyer is hired, they will compile evidence, including any witness testimony and surveillance video footage. The lawyer also will also serve as their client’s advocate and negotiator when discussing potential plea deals with the prosecutor. If there is enough evidence to raise reasonable doubt regarding the shoplifting charges, it may be possible to get the charges reduced or dropped altogether. If not, the lawyer will represent their client in court and fight for an acquittal.


Can someone lose their right to shop at JC Penny if convicted of shoplifting?

Yes. If they are convicted of shoplifting from JCPenny in New Jersey, you can lose your right to shop there. 

How can someone prove that they did not intend to shoplift at JCPenny?

If they did not intend to shoplift, their attorney can help establish this in various ways based on the particular facts. 

Can I get caught stealing after I leave JCPenny?

Yes, it is possible to get caught stealing after leaving a JC Penny store. For example, someone who tried to steal merchandise could be stopped by loss prevention officers when driving away from the store.

Will I go to jail for shoplifting if it is my first offense?

It depends. Under New Jersey law, serving time in jail is a potential penalty for shoplifting. However, New Jersey offers a pretrial intervention program that could allow someone to avoid a conviction. The program is generally available to first-time offenders who are charged with fourth- or third-degree shoplifting. Pretrial intervention clients are supervised by probation officers. If the program participant successfully serves their probationary term, which can be from six months to three years, they can have the shoplifting charges dismissed.

Are there any exceptions for accidental shoplifting?

If someone looks like they were shoplifting, but (for example) they accidentally put something in their cart that they did not mean to take, this would be a defense against a shoplifting charge.

Can the charge be expunged from someone’s record?

Under New Jersey law, someone accused of shoplifting may be able to have the charge expunged from their record. However, this usually requires a waiting period of several years.

Should I accept a plea deal or fight the charge in court?

The answer to this question depends largely on the specific facts of the case. An attorney will explain the plea offer and help their client decide whether to take the deal, try to negotiate for a better offer, or go to trial.

Contact a Rosenblum Law Criminal Defense Attorney Today

You might think that shoplifting is a minor offense that just results in a slap on the wrist. However, shoplifting from JCPenny or anywhere else can have significant long-term repercussions. That is why it is important to hire an experienced attorney. 

A knowledgeable New Jersey shoplifting defense attorney at Rosenblum Law will work tirelessly to achieve a favorable outcome to your case. They will represent you during plea negotiations and try to secure the best deal possible, as opposed to accepting the prosecutor’s initial offer. If a quality plea offer is not presented, the attorney will take the case to trial and argue for an acquittal. To learn more, contact Rosenblum Law today to schedule a confidential consultation.

List of JCPenny Stores in NJ

There are approximately 10 JC Penny stores operating in New Jersey. Those stores are based in the following cities:

  • Cherry Hill
  • Deptford
  • East Brunswick
  • Freehold
  • Jersey City
  • Rockaway
  • Toms River
  • Trenton
  • Wayne
  • Woodbridge

Typically, JC Penney stores are found in shopping malls, which is true in New Jersey. JC Penny stores operate in the following shopping centers throughout the Garden State: 

  • Monmouth Mall
  • Woodbridge Center
  • Freehold Raceway Mall
  • Brunswick Square Mall
  • Newport Centre
  • Wayne Towne Center
  • Westfield Garden State Plaza
  • Ocean County Mall
  • Rockaway Townsquare
  • Quaker Bridge Mall.
Shoplifting from JCPenney in New Jersey
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