Shoplifting Policy in Different New Jersey Municipal Courts

There is typically very little uniformity in the Various NJ municipal courts regarding plea offers and commonly charged traffic and criminal offenses. As a New Jersey Municipal Court lawyer, I have appeared in MANY different municipal courts. Therefore, I am usually aware of how my clients charges will be viewed by a particular municipal prosecutor and judge.

This is a very important aspect of this area of practice. For example, if the defendant is facing shoplifting charges, there are some municipalities that have a no plea bargain rule. This means that the court has made a policy decision to strictly enforce shoplifting laws and will not allow for an amended charge unless there are exceptional circumstances. This means that a defendant facing a shoplifting offense in one of these municipalities will likely have to go to trial and make the state prove its case BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.

This issue becomes especially important if you are facing immigration consequences because of your shoplifting charge. Shoplifting is called a crime of moral turpitude, and can be used against you in a deportation proceeding.

That being said, there are many aspects that need to come together prior to trial for the state to prove its case. Therefore, if you are facing charges in one of these jurisdictions, you should certainly contact an attorney to discuss the specifics of your case. If you are interviewing lawyers, you should ask them if they appear regularly in that court, and do they know if certain restrictions exist.

Additionally, I would urge you to contact an attorney prior to any shoplifting charge court appearances. During your court appearance, the judge, the prosecutor, etc., may ask you questions. Things you say on the record could be harmful to your defense.

If you have questions regarding this topic, please contact my office. I am available 24 hours.