What to do if You’re Accused of Shoplifting in New Jersey

Being detained for shoplifting in New Jersey is a stressful situation, and many people feel the need to take action immediately. However, if you’re accused of shoplifting in Monmouth County or the surrounding areas, it’s important to be careful about how you handle the situation.

Don’t Fight

If you’re caught shoplifting, your first instinct may be to fight and try to flee. This will only work against you, so we urge you to remain calm and comply with orders. New Jersey recognizes “shopkeeper’s privilege,” which means that private employees, such as security guards, have the right to detain suspected shoplifters for a reasonable amount of time while waiting for the police. If you fight them, it may result in additional charges.

Don’t Talk

If you’re detained for shoplifting, it’s okay to provide some very basic identifying information, such as your name, address, and date of birth.

Other than that, however, try to avoid talking to police or store employees. It’s very tempting to try to talk your way out of the situation, but it rarely works. The major exception to this is if you have a receipt in your possession that proves that you paid for the item you’re accused of stealing. If that’s the case, explaining the situation and showing the receipt may help.

Understand the Law

Shoplifting is a much broader category of offenses than many people realize. It isn’t always just walking out with an item you haven’t paid for. You may also be guilty of shoplifting in New Jersey if you:

  • Purposefully conceal merchandise, even if you haven’t left the store
  • Alter price tags or transfer merchandise into a different container
  • As a cashier, purposefully under-ring or undercharge items

If you’ve done any of these things and are questioned about shoplifting, it’s a good idea to consult with Zapicchi and Liller’s top criminal lawyers in Hamilton Township, NJ, or your local area.

Find Help

If you are charged with shoplifting, it’s time to find an attorney. Shoplifting can range from a misdemeanor to a felony, so it’s important to have an advocate in your corner. An attorney experienced in criminal law in Monmouth County, NJ, can help you achieve the best outcomes.

The Law Offices of Zapicchi & Liller LLP can assist with most criminal defense cases, including accusations of shoplifting. Contact us today for more information.