A NJ shoplifting conviction may not seem like a big deal at first. After all, shoplifting carries a presumption of non-incarceration, which means that – for most cases – the person will not do time in jail or prison. However, having any kind of criminal conviction can impact one’s life in many unexpected ways. From education to jobs, to housing, even a minor shoplifting charge can sideline one’s life.
Thankfully, shoplifting charges can be expunged in New Jersey. An expungement in NJ means the record is isolated so that few entities can see it. An expunged shoplifting record is effectively invisible to nearly all employers, financial institutions, landlords, insurance companies and schools. In addition, a person whose record is expunged can legally deny the conviction occurred.
Waiting Period to Expunge NJ Shoplifting Charges
Convicted shoplifters must wait a requisite amount of time before filing for an expungement. The amount of time depends on the severity of the charge, which in turn depends on the value of the goods taken. For shoplifting goods valued at $200 or less, the charge is a disorderly persons offense, and the waiting period is five years. Those charged with stealing goods valued at more than $200, the charge is an indictable offense (felony) and the waiting period is six years.
|Offense Level||Value of Goods Shoplifted||Waiting Period to Expunge|
|Disorderly Persons Offense||$200 or less||5 years|
|Indictable Offense (4th – 2nd Degree)||More than $200||6 years|
This assumes the individual charged with shoplifting has no other offenses. A person can have up to 4 total disorderly persons convictions or one indictable conviction and up to 3 disorderly persons convictions and still be eligible for an expungement. A person with one indictable offense must wait six years before applying for an expungement even if the shoplifting charge itself is a disorderly persons offense.
In some cases, a person may be eligible to apply for an Early Pathway Expungement. A person can be eligible for this type of expungement if he/she has fulfilled all other expungement criteria and can prove that the expungement is in the public’s interest. To learn more about that, see our Early Pathway Expungement page.
Requirements to Expunge Shoplifting Charges in NJ
In addition to waiting the requisite amount of time, a person must also fulfill other requirements. This includes:
- Completing any sentencing, including jail, parole or probation.
- Satisfying any fines or orders of restitution.
Expungement of Juvenile Shoplifting Charges
Those convicted of shoplifting as a juvenile can still get their records expunged. See our page on juvenile shoplifting charges in New Jersey.
What if My Shoplifting Charge Ends in a Dismissal?
Those who are able to beat their shoplifting charge will not have a criminal record, but there will be a record of the arrest. This can be and should be expunged right away (no waiting period).
What if I Entered a Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) Program to Avoid a Shoplifting Conviction?
Those who successfully complete a PTI program in NJ will avoid conviction for the shoplifting charges. However, a record of the PTI program enrollment and completion can still be uncovered in certain background checks. This in turn can lead to questions a person may not want to answer. Thankfully, one’s PTI record can also be expunged. A person can file to expunge a PTI record 6 months after completing the program.
Do I Need an Attorney to Expunge My Shoplifting Conviction?
Theoretically, no, but it is not advisable to go it alone. Firstly, an attorney can help one understand whether a person is eligible or not. Secondly, an attorney with experience filing expungements will know how best to present one’s case in the filing and what supporting documents will most clearly illustrate why the record should be cleared. Thirdly, the attorney can handle the most difficult aspects of the filing process (copying and sending to various agencies). Lastly, if a hearing is ordered in response to the expungement request, an attorney can attend and provide arguments with the best chance of persuading the judge toward a favorable ruling.
If you or someone you love has been convicted of a crime in New Jersey and would like to have their record expunged, you need to help of a skilled attorney. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are experienced criminal defense and expungement attorneys who have helped many people get out of the shadow of a criminal conviction. Email the Rosenblum Law Firm or call 888-815-3649 today for a free consultation about your case.