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New Jersey Theft Laws
New Jersey Theft Laws

2A:61C-1  Shoplifting, retail thefts, civil action; provided.

1.  a.  A person who commits the offense of shoplifting as defined in N.J.S.2C:20-11 or a person who commits the offense of theft as defined in Chapter 20 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes by stealing food or drink from an eating establishment shall be liable for any criminal penalties imposed by law and shall be liable to the merchant in a civil action in an amount equal to the following: 

(1) The value of the merchandise as damages, not to exceed $500, if the merchandise cannot be restored to the merchant in its original condition;

(2) Additional damages, if any, arising from the incident, not to include any loss of time or wages incurred by the merchant in connection with the apprehension of the defendant; and 

(3) A civil penalty payable to the merchant in an amount of up to $150.

b. A parent, guardian or other person having legal custody of a minor who commits the offense of shoplifting  or the offense of theft of food or drink from an eating establishment shall be liable to the merchant for the damages specified in subsection a. of this section.  This subsection shall not apply to a parent whose parental custody and control of such minor has been removed by court order, decree, judgment, military service, or marriage of such infant, or to a resource family parent of such minor. 

c. If a merchant institutes a civil action pursuant to the provisions of this section, the prevailing party in that action shall be entitled to an award of reasonable attorney's fees and reasonable court costs.

d. Limitations on civil action:

(1) Before a civil action may be commenced, the merchant shall send a notice to the defendant's last known address giving the defendant 20 days to respond.  It is not a condition precedent to maintaining an action under this act that the defendant has been convicted of shoplifting or theft . 

(2) No civil action under this act may be maintained if the defendant has paid the merchant a penalty equal to the retail value of the merchandise where the merchandise was not recovered in its original condition, plus a sum of up to $150. 

(3) The provisions of this act do not apply in any case where the value of the merchandise exceeds $500.

e. If the person to whom a written demand is made complies with such demand within 20 days following the receipt of the demand, that person shall be given a written release from further civil liability with respect to the specific act of shoplifting or theft



2A:62-1.  By person in peaceable possession

    Any person in the peaceable possession of lands in this state and claiming ownership thereof, may, when his title thereto, or any part thereof, is denied or disputed, or any other person claims or is claimed to own the same, or any part thereof or interest therein, or to hold a lien or encumbrance thereon, and  when no action is pending to enforce or test the validity of such title, claim  or encumbrance, maintain an action in the superior court to settle the title to  such lands and to clear up all doubts and disputes concerning the same.

L.1951 (1st SS), c.344.

2A:62-2.  Presumption of peaceable possession
    If the lands are not, by reason of their extent or because they are wild, wood, waste, uninclosed or unimproved, in the actual peaceable possession of the owner or person claiming ownership, the owner or person claiming ownership in fee under a deed or other instrument, duly recorded in this state, who has paid taxes thereon and to whom or to whose grantors the taxes thereon have been  assessed for 5 consecutive years immediately prior to the commencement of the  action authorized by section 2A:62-1 of this title, shall, if no other person  is in actual possession thereof, be presumed to be in peaceable possession  thereof, and shall have all the rights and benefits of and be subject to all  the provisions of this article and articles 2 and 4 of this chapter.

2C:3-10.  Justification in property crimes
    Conduct involving the appropriation, seizure or destruction of, damage to, intrusion on, or interference with, property is justifiable under circumstances  which would establish a defense of privilege in a civil action based thereon,  unless:

    a.  The code or the law defining the offense deals with the specific situation involved;  or

    b.  A legislative purpose to exclude the justification claimed otherwise plainly appears.

     L.1978, c. 95, s. 2C:3-10, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:3-11  Definitions.

2C:3-11.  Definitions.  In this chapter, unless a different meaning plainly is required:  a. "Unlawful force" means force, including confinement, which is employed without the consent of the person against whom it is directed and the employment of which constitutes an offense or actionable tort or would constitute such offense or tort except for a defense (such as the absence of intent, negligence, or mental capacity; duress, youth, or diplomatic status) not amounting to a privilege to use the force.  Assent constitutes consent, within the meaning of this section, whether or not it otherwise is legally effective, except assent to the infliction of death or serious bodily harm.

b. "Deadly force" means force which the actor uses with the purpose of causing or which he knows to create a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily harm.  Purposely firing a firearm in the direction of another person or at a vehicle, building or structure in which another person is believed to be constitutes deadly force unless the firearm is loaded with less-lethal ammunition and fired by a law enforcement officer in the performance of the officer's official duties.  A threat to cause death or serious bodily harm, by the production of a weapon or otherwise, so long as the actor's purpose is limited to creating an apprehension that he will use deadly force if necessary, does not constitute deadly force.

c. "Dwelling" means any building or structure, though movable or temporary, or a portion thereof, which is for the time being the actor's home or place of lodging except that, as used in 2C:3-7, the building or structure need not be the actor's own home or place of lodging.

d. "Serious bodily harm" means bodily harm which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ or which results from aggravated sexual assault or sexual assault.

e. "Bodily harm" means physical pain, or temporary disfigurement, or impairment of physical condition.

f. "Less-lethal ammunition" means ammunition approved by the Attorney General which is designed to stun, temporarily incapacitate or cause temporary discomfort to a person without penetrating the person's body.  The term shall also include ammunition approved by the Attorney General which is designed to gain access to a building or structure and is used for that purpose.

L.1978, c.95; amended 1979, c.178, s.11; 1981, c.290, s.7; 1987, c.120, s.3; 2005, c.250, s.1.

2C:4-1.  Insanity defense
    A person is not criminally responsible for conduct if at the time of such conduct he was laboring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind  as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing, or if he did  know it, that he did not know what he was doing was wrong. Insanity is an affirmative defense which must be proved by a preponderance of the evidence.

 

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