Criminal Law Questions? Ask a Criminal Lawyer.
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Because of the value of the items taken, this would be considered 4th degree shoplifting, which carries a maximum fine of $10,000 and jail time of up to 18 months. Here's a link that outlines the different degrees and corresponding punishment: http://www.nj.gov/oag/dcj/agguide/shoplift.pdf
If the value was $10.00 less, you'd be looking at a disorderly offense and a maximum fine of $1000 and maximum imprisonment of 6 months.
The fake ID carries a penalty of up to 6 months in jail as well.
Because this is a first offense, I would not think that you would be looking at any jail time. Instead, a fine and community service is more probably. However, I would recommend that you consult a local criminal law attorney and have him/her try to get the prosecutor to reduce the shoplifting to a disorderly offense since you're so close (only $10.00 over) and try to reach a plea of probation, community service and a small fine for both charges.
Yes, you can apply for pretrial intervention on your own as outlined here: http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/criminal/crpti.htm. As the website says, you need to apply for this as soon as possible. An attorney is helpful in making these types of applications and working a deal with the prosecutor so the application will go through without a hitch. However, if you want to try it on your own, you can do so.
You need to contact the superior court clerk and ask for help with getting this application filed.
You need to apply before the court date because the application must be processed before the hearing.
It's pre-trial diversion. It allows you to avoid having these charges on your permanent record. Generally, you're put on probation for 1-3 years and you must perform community service, take random drug tests, etc. (the general conditions are on the PTI link provided above).
If you successfully complete the program, everything is erased and it's as if you were never arrested or charged with these offenses.
I can't promise you what will happen for sure. The judge could put you in jail for 18 months and fine you $10,000.00. I don't think that's likely - but the law does allow it. That's why it's important for you to apply for PTI BEFORE the court date. If this gets approved before you go to court, you'll know what is going to happen instead of not knowing where this may lead.
As I said earlier, I doubt the judge would give you any jail time, but I can't promise that - no lawyer can promise you something like that because it's up to the judge.
I would recommend that you contact the court tomorrow morning and ask for help getting your application for PTI filed asap. I would not recommend that you wait until court and ask for PTI at that point.
Applications are approved or disapproved on a case-by-case basis. However, the chances are good that it will be approved. However, you need to get moving on the application asap because there are interviews, etc. required to complete the process (read the link I provided about the application process).
An attorney will make your chances better with the application and also when you go to court. If you can afford an attorney, I would certainly recommend it.
Yes, you should mention that the amount changed from 186 to 210 as that is the difference between a 4th degree offense and a disorderly offense.
The court can make you pay restitution for the goods shoplifted. If restitution is made, there would be no need for a civil demand.
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