I represented a client this morning in Edison Municipal Court who was charged with shoplifting in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11. The defendant was charged with shoplifting from Macy’s in the Menlo Park Mall in Edison, New Jersey. The alleged amount was approximately $1,500.00 worth of merchandise. This is a third degree indictable criminal offense in New Jersey. Third degree offenses are punishable by three (3) to five (5) years in New Jersey state prison if convicted. However, there is a presumption of non-incarceration on third degree charges. This means that, if you have no prior criminal record, you are considered a good candidate for probation. Unfortunately though, if you are convicted of a third degree offense you will have a felony conviction on your record.

In this case, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office screened the case and remanded the case back to the Edison Township Municipal Court for resolution. This means that the third degree charges were downgraded to a disorderly persons offense for shoplifting which is in an amount of $200 or less. As a result, when I appeared in Edison Municipal Court this morning my client was facing a disorderly persons offense for shoplifting which is punishable by a maximum of six (6) months in the county jail and a $1,000.00 fine. If convicted, my client would have a record which is subject to expungement after five (5) years.

The representative from Macy’s failed to appear in court this morning despite the fact that the witness was subpoenad to be there. Therefore, the State was unable to prove the shoplifting charges against my client and the charges were dismissed for lack of prosecution.