What to Do if You Get Caught Stealing at Target

If you or a loved one has been arrested for shoplifting at Target, the shoplifting defense attorneys of Sutnick & Sutnick Attorneys at Law can assist you.

Our certified trial lawyers have helped many satisfied clients, and we will help you achieve the best possible results in your Target shoplifting matter. Call anytime, day or night, for a FREE consultation.

Target Shoplifting FAQs:

What Happens if You Get Caught Stealing at Target?

Target has an active operation for catching shoplifters that includes video surveillance, undercover store security officers, and uniformed personnel posted at some of the exits. If store security believes that any items were hidden and taken out of the store, the customer is stopped and questioned.

Photographs of the property are taken and receipts are generated before the items are placed back on the selling floor. If any items cannot be put back, the store and the prosecutor, will ask for full restitution. At some point, you will be asked to pay the full retail value of the damaged or soiled items.

After Target stops an accused shoplifter, they may give a "no trespassing" order banning them from the store. Also, Target demands that a civil penalty be paid to cover the store's costs of stopping and prosecuting shoplifters.

Target has relationships with the local police department who respond right away when called about someone suspected of shoplifting. Once the case is processed by the police, it is sent to a criminal court where the penalties may include jail, fines and community service or probation.

Can You Get Caught Stealing After You Leave Target?

Yes, but generally Target security will stop you and take back the merchandise right away. The store is interested in getting the items back and putting them back of the shelves for sale.

It is possible to be charged criminally at a later time, but generally you will be stopped and the store will process the case and the evidence immediately. If the police do not come to the store right away, you may receive a criminal complaint in the mail.

Will You Go to Jail for Shoplifting If It's Your First Offense?

Probably not, but it depends on the value of the property taken and the circumstances of your arrest. Every New Jersey shoplifting arrest carries the possibility of a jail sentence.

New Jersey law, however, recognizes that sometimes good people make bad decisions and jail, or even a conviction, is not appropriate. A first-time offender may be eligible for a diversionary program which allows them to put their case on a path to dismissal.

What Happens For a Second Offense? Will I Go to Jail?

It depends on the value of the property and the facts of the case. An experienced lawyer can evaluate your personal situation to determine the most likely outcome based on your facts. A second shoplifting offense will require 15 days of community service, in addition to the normal penalties.

What About a Third Shoplifting Arrest? Will I Go to Jail?

A conviction for a third offense of shoplifting requires at least 90 days in the county jail. It is important to obtain a lawyer immediately to defend your rights.

What Will the Criminal Complaint for Shoplifting at Target Say?

A criminal complaint for shoplifting will generally charge one of the following criminal statutes: 2C:20-11(b)(1) or 2C: 20-11(b)(2).

The complaint will say that, "within the jurisdiction of this court, commit the offense of shoplifting by purposely concealing on his/her person merchandise specifically described as various assorted merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by Target, with the intent to deprive Target of all or some part of the retail value therof, specifically by concealing items and exiting the store without paying for them."

What Are the Legal Consequences for Theft at Target?

It depends on the full retail value of the merchandise.

Property valued under $200 is a disorderly persons offense punishable by up to six months in jail, $1,000 fine, and at least 10 days of community service.

Any property valued over $200 is a felony crime.

Property valued between $200 but that does not exceed $500 is a fourth degree crime punishable by up to 18 months in state prison, a $10,000 fine, and at least 10 days of community service.

Property valued between $500 but less than $75,000 is a third degree crime punishable by up to 5 years in state prison, a $15,000 fine, and at least 10 days of community service.

Property valued at $75,000 or more is a second degree crime punishable by up to 10 years in state prison, a $150,000 fine, and at least 10 days of community service.

Where Will I Go to Court if I Am Accused of Stealing at Target?

It depends on the store's location and the value of the property taken.

Property valued at $200 or more will be heard in Superior Court. Property valued under $200 will go to the local municipal court. Please see the chart below to determine where your case will be heard:

LocationValue Under $200Value $200 or more
Bergen Town Center TargetParamus Municipal CourtBergen County Superior Court
HackensackHackensack Municipal CourtBergen County Superior Court
ClosterCloster Municipal CourtBergen County Superior Court
EdgewaterEdgewater Municipal CourtBergen County Superior Court
North Bergen
North Bergen Municipal CourtHudson County Superior Court
Jersey City
Jersey City Municipal CourtHudson County Superior Court
CliftonClifton Municipal CourtPassaic County Superior Court
FairfieldFairfield Municipal CourtEssex County Superior Court
RiverdaleRiverdale Municipal CourtMorris County Superior Court

What Are the Juvenile Shoplifting Penalties in New Jersey?

Anyone under 18 years old who is charged with an offense or crime will have their criminal case processed in Family Court. The record of the proceeding will be sealed and any adjudication of delinquency will not appear on an adult criminal record. Generally, the Family Court wants to make sure that a juvenile understands that actions have consequences and will recommend community service or an essay about lessons learned or the payment of fines or a combination of these.

Why Do You Need a Lawyer for Shoplifting Charges?

Because you only have one reputation and it is important to protect it. Every case is different and every person has unique needs. Only an experienced attorney can tailor the best result for your personal situation.

For example, if you are a student, or not a citizen, or you have never been in trouble before, you require personalized attention and your defense should be different than someone in a different situation.

Whether it is a first arrest for shoplifting or your 3 or 4th shoplifting charge, you deserve to get the best result in court. Everyone's legal fight may look a little different, but everyone charged with a crime deserves a lawyer who fights for their rights and reputation.

Don't Let A Shoplifting Arrest Hold You Back

Contact our New Jersey shoplifting defense lawyers by calling 201-212-4532 or by completing our online contact form to schedule a FREE consultation. From our offices in Hackensack, Wayne and the Bronx, we represent clients throughout Bergen County, Passaic County, Hudson County and New York City.