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Cherry Hill Shoplifting Lawyer: Your Guide to Fighting Shoplifting Charges

Hey there! If you’re reading this, you’re probably dealing with some shoplifting charges in Cherry Hill and looking for a lawyer to help you out. I feel you – getting busted for shoplifting sucks. But don’t panic! There are definitely ways to fight the charges and protect your rights. Let me break it down for you…

An Overview of Shoplifting Laws in Cherry Hill

Shoplifting laws in Cherry Hill fall under New Jersey state law. Basically, you can be charged with shoplifting if you intentionally take merchandise from a store without paying for it. Sounds simple enough, but there’s more to it than that.

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The specific law is called “retail theft”. Under N.J.S.A 2C:20-11, any person who purposely takes merchandise without paying is guilty of shoplifting. The stolen goods only need to be worth $200 or more for the charge to be considered a 4th degree crime. Anything less than $200 is just a disorderly persons offense.

But here’s the thing – you don’t actually have to leave the store to be charged with shoplifting. Just putting an item in your pocket or bag is enough intent for them to slap cuffs on you. Kinda crazy if you ask me.

There’s also something called “shopkeeper’s privilege” that gives merchants the right to detain suspected shoplifters on store property. Usually they’ll bring you to a back room and call the local police to come arrest you. Not a fun experience, I’m sure.

Common Defenses Against Shoplifting Charges

Luckily, there are a few solid defenses you can use to fight shoplifting charges:

You didn’t intend to steal. This is huge. If you can prove you simply forgot to pay for something and had no purposeful intent to steal, the charges can get tossed.

Wrongful detention. If the store had no real evidence that you intended to steal, they had no right to detain you. Any confession or evidence they collected after that is useless.

Illegal search. Stores can only search your personal belongings if they have a reasonable suspicion you’re stealing. If they crossed the line, the case can get dismissed.

Misidentification. Eyewitness mistakes happen all the time. If the store employees fingered the wrong person (you), the charges can get dropped.

Mental illness. If you have a diagnosed mental illness that impacted your actions, you may be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed.

See, there are definitely ways to fight this! An experienced shoplifting lawyer will know how to argue these defenses for you.

The Legal Process of a Shoplifting Case

Here’s a quick rundown of how a typical shoplifting case goes down:

1. Arrest. Police arrive and arrest you, then book you at the police station.

2. First court appearance. You’ll have a first appearance within a few days to be formally charged. You’ll enter a “not guilty” plea.

3. Prosecutor review. The prosecutor will review the evidence and decide how to proceed. Often they’ll offer a plea deal.

4. Plea or trial. You either accept a plea bargain or take it to trial. An attorney can negotiate the best deal.

5. Sentencing. If found guilty, the judge will impose penalties like fines, probation, and possibly jail time.

Having an attorney with you every step of the way is critical. They can work to get charges reduced or dismissed without a trial. Don’t go it alone!

Penalties for Shoplifting in Cherry Hill

If you’re found guilty of shoplifting in Cherry Hill, here are the potential penalties you’ll face:

  • Up to 18 months in jail for a 4th degree offense
  • Fines up to $10,000
  • Probation up to 5 years
  • Permanent criminal record

And that’s just for a first-time offense! Penalties go up if you have prior convictions. But an attorney may be able to negotiate probation and avoid jail time, even on a 2nd or 3rd offense.

Finding the Right Lawyer for Your Shoplifting Case

Okay, let’s talk about finding a solid shoplifting lawyer in the Cherry Hill area. Here are some tips:

  • Find a local lawyer. They’ll know the prosecutors and judges which helps immensely.
  • Look for experience. Find someone with a proven track record of winning shoplifting cases.
  • Read reviews. Check sites like Google, Avvo, and Yelp to see what past clients say.
  • Beware “settlement mills.” Some firms just want to settle and may not fight hard in trial.
  • Meet them first. Schedule a consultation to see if you feel comfortable with them.
  • Ask about fees upfront. Some lawyers work on flat fees while others bill hourly.

Take your time finding the right lawyer. This is your future on the line. But with an experienced attorney on your side, you have a solid chance of beating these shoplifting charges. Don’t lose hope!

My Final Thoughts

Dealing with a shoplifting charge is scary, I know. But you have more options than you think. With the right legal strategy, you can get the charges reduced or even dismissed. So don’t panic, and focus on finding the best lawyer for your situation.

I hope this guide gives you a good overview of how shoplifting cases work in Cherry Hill and what defenses are available. And remember – you have rights! Don’t let them pressure you into anything. An attorney will protect your rights and build the strongest case for beating these charges.

If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out to me. I’m always happy to help however I can. Wishing you the very best of luck fighting these shoplifting charges! You got this.

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