A classic example of how a Shoplifting can escalate into a much more serious charge of Robbery was seen a few weeks ago in Monmouth County. The defendant in this case accidentally struck a store employee as he attempted to exit the parking lot of the store he had shoplifted. While the employee was not injured, the defendant used force to escape in the form of a motor vehicle. This resulted in a Robbery charge.
A shoplifting becomes a Robbery under N.J.S.A. 2C:15 -1 where it results in “bodily injury” or involves “use of force” in the commission of the theft or during flight therefrom. At a minimum, Robbery is a Second Degree crime carrying 5-10 years of jail time. The No Early Release Act also applies to a Robbery and this law mandates that a defendant serve 85% of his jail term before he is eligible for parole.
Whenever one of our NJ Shoplifting Lawyers begins to hear a story from a prospective client regarding a post-shoplifting escape, they hold their breath. The reason for this is the fact that, depending on what occurred, the case could quickly turn from a situation where someone is exposed to little to no jail time, to a case involving significant jail exposure and mandatory parole ineligibility. The scenario obviously terms extreme when this occurs and so too the need for an intensified defense effort. While these types of charges have to be taken very seriously, good outcomes are common for our firm in cases like this one.