Livingston Shoplifting and Theft Attorneys
I recently represented a client charged and arrested for shoplifting in the Livingston Mall. This particular individual was arrested after allegedly attempting to leave the Lord & Taylor store without paying for numerous items. According to the police, the merchandise totaled approximately $750. Theft arrests and charges in the Livingston Mall are predictably numerous.
What most people don't realize is that shoplifting is often not just a misdemeanor or disorderly persons offense. Dollar amounts as low as $200 can trigger an indictable charge. This case was somewhat unusual, because in most instances offenses alleging this amount in Essex County will frequently be remanded or sent back to the Municipal Court as part of negotiations between the prosecutor and your lawyer or on the motion of the prosecutor following review of the case.
This particular case was made more difficult because my client had several shoplifting conviction in her past and was subject to mandatory incarceration as a a third or subsequent offender. In addition, she had a professional license with the State of New Jersey that was in jeopardy.
Teachers and Nurses are two categories of state sanctioned professionals that will receive flagging notices if charged with a disorderly persons or indictable offense. This occurred in this circumstance. Given the extent of her prior record, her license was in danger of revocation.
In this particular case, the facts were not necessarily in our favor but there were aspects of the case that were helpful. For example, she had purchased around $300 worth of items. The allegedly concealed items were not in a purse or other sort of container that would indicate concealment. The items were in the open and being carried out by my client. In addition, the store could not produce a video to contradict my client's side of the story, although the lost prevention officer's report made it appear as if she was attempting to flee.
Ultimately, the assistant prosecutor at the Superior Court reviewed some case law I provided regarding the production of discovery as it pertains to video evidence. Since it appeared that the video had existed but was not available, the state agreed to amend the offense to a municipal ordinance violation.
This was a great result. No jail, no criminal conviction, and following my discussion with the NJ Board of Licensing for her field, she was able to keep her job.
This a perfect example of why sometimes the facts of the case are not the most important aspect of the defense. Procedural requirements, such as the obligation to provide and maintain discovery, are frequently more important. Knowing the case law and rules that pertain to these issues is essential for a criminal defense lawyer.
Shoplifting convictions are so harmful because employers doing background searches will not trust you or hire you. They will think you are a thief.
If you have been accused of shoplifting or theft in the Livingston Mall by the police or mall security, we can provide a thorough free consultation. We don't care about your past. We care about your future and will fight to protect it.