Woodland Park NJ Shoplifting Lawyers
Criminal Defense against Shoplifting Charges in West Paterson, New Jersey
Travis Tormey and Alissa D. Hascup of the Tormey Law Firm LLC recently defended a client against charges of shoplifting in Woodland Park, New Jersey. The client was accused of shoplifting retail items with a value under $200, so he was charged with a disorderly persons offense. As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11, the theft of items valued at less than $200 is considered a serious offense but not serious enough to warrant felony-level charges. Shoplifting is typically graded as a disorderly persons offense. These kinds of disorderly persons offenses are also known as misdemeanors and they are adjudicated in the local municipal court, not the county superior court. If a defendant is accused of stealing more than $200 worth of items from a store, they can be charged with a felony and face significant prison time.
Severe Penalties for a Shoplifting Conviction in New Jersey
In this case, the client had to answer the disorderly persons offense shoplifting charges in the Woodland Park Municipal Court. If the client had been convicted of the theft crime, he would have been subject to severe penalties that included: up to six months in the Passaic County Jail, a $1,000 fine, probation, and a permanent criminal charge and conviction on his record.
Although most theft crime convictions can be expunged from an offender’s record after a period of five years, the expungement process takes time. While the defendant waits for the conviction to be removed from their record, they may find that it is difficult to secure or maintain employment. That’s why it is imperative that anyone charged with a theft offense like shoplifting in NJ seek out qualified legal counsel as soon as possible.
On top of facing jail time, heavy fines, and a criminal record, our client also faced possible deportation. Since the client was not a U.S. citizen, and since shoplifting is considered a “crime of moral turpitude,” a conviction had the potential to result in serious immigration consequences. Depending on the circumstances, our client could have been denied a green card or even deported from the country.
As soon as the client retained the services of Travis J. Tormey and Alissa Hascup, the experienced criminal defense team got to work fighting the Woodland Park NJ shoplifting charges. Mr. Tormey and Ms. Hascup noted that the client had no prior criminal history. Additionally, the small amount of the alleged theft and the circumstances surrounding the alleged charge meant that our experienced shoplifting defense team was able to negotiate a favorable plea deal with the Woodland Park Municipal Prosecutor. Under the terms of the plea agreement, the criminal charge was amended to a local ordinance violation for creating a disturbance in a store. This meant that the charge against the client was now at the same level as a littering ticket or a citation for leaving your garbage at the curb on the wrong day. The ordinance violation resulted in a fine, but there was no jail time attached and the client was able to keep his record clear of a criminal conviction.
This was a tremendous outcome for the client and a major victory for our criminal defense firm.