Shoplifting Defense Strategy – Facts or Circumstances Defense

Shoplifting Defense Leonia NJ LawyerOne of the defense strategies that our attorneys use to fight shoplifting charges in New Jersey is known as “the facts or circumstances defense.”

In order to prove a shoplifting case, the prosecutor must demonstrate that you had the intent to steal the merchandise or goods from the store. This is known as the mens rea or criminal intent element of the crime. The prosecutor must prove that you intended to shoplift the merchandise.

In many scenarios, the prosecutor can prove that you were walking around the store, potentially walking near the exit of the store. However, this is not the same as leaving the store. (If you were stopped in a store parking lot, having already exited the building with the goods, then we would be talking about a different case.) If the prosecutor lacks the necessary facts to prove that you had the criminal intent to steal, our lawyers can potentially get the shoplifting charges against you downgraded or thrown out of court entirely.

Additionally, there are many facts and circumstances that can contribute to a showing that you did not intend to shoplift the merchandise. For example, if you bought $50.00 worth of goods from the store and you simply forgot that you had placed a $6.00 item in your bag or your pocket, it tends to reason that you did not intend to steal the item. A lawyer at our firm can raise this defense for you in court.

Even before the case gets to trial, we will attempt to convince the store representative and the prosecutor that the shoplifting charge will not stand up in court and that they will be unable to prove the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. If we are able to do this, we can get the case against you thrown out or we can negotiate a downgrade, possibly resulting in a fine but no criminal record.

Best Shoplifting Defenses in New Jersey: Criminal Defense Attorney

There are three (3) other shoplifting defenses we typically use to challenge shoplifting cases. These defenses include:

If you’ve been charged with shoplifting in New Jersey, contact our local office in Bergen County at (201)-330-4979 for a free consultation about your case.


If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense, disorderly persons offense, or traffic / DWI violation, you have the right to an attorney who will defend you against your charges and fight for your best interests. To learn more about how your attorney can fight to have your charges dismissed or reduced, click a link below to see our video library of legal defenses and strategies.