New Jersey treats the crime of theft seriously. A person charged with even a minor shoplifting offense runs the risk of going to jail and paying fines and restitution if convicted. The more money involved in the theft, the more severe the consequences could be for the individual.
These are all reasons why you should seek help from an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you or a family member is charged with theft in New Jersey.
The Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC, can provide immediate help to you. Start now by filling out the form to the right.
Our founding attorney, Anthony J. Vecchio, will personally handle your case and fight to protect your rights. He is a Super Lawyers Rising Star, with a 10/10 Avvo rating, who has both prosecuted and defended thousands of criminal cases over the course of his career. He is ready to go to work for you right away.
We serve clients throughout New Jersey, including Freehold, Mt. Laurel, Princeton, Jersey City, Red Bank and Woodbridge. We always charge flat, reasonable fees. Contact us today to learn more and to discuss your theft case.
What Is ‘Theft’ Under New Jersey Law?
When you are charged with any crime, it will benefit you to understand how New Jersey law defines it. It will give you a better grasp of what you have been accused of doing, and it will help you to decide how you want to proceed.
Generally speaking, you can be charged with theft in New Jersey if you are accused of unlawfully taking or exercising control over the property of another, with the purpose of depriving that person of their right to that property:
- Permanently; or
- For period that allows you to take a substantial portion of its economic value; or
- With the purpose of restoring the property only if you are paid a reward or other compensation. (See J.S. 2C:20-1(a) and N.J.S. 2C:20-3).
New Jersey law covers many different types of theft of goods and services, including:
- Theft by deception – Creating or reinforcing a false impression – and, in some situations, failing to correct a false impression – in order to acquire another person’s property. (See J.S. 2C:20-4.)
- Theft by extortion – Using threats of violence or other harmful actions to obtain another person’s property. (See J.S. 2C:20-5.)
- Theft of property lost, mislaid or delivered by mistake – Knowingly coming into control of property that you know has been lost, mislaid or delivered by mistake in terms of the amount or the identity of the owner. (See J.S. 2C:20-6.)
- Shoplifting – Taking property from a merchant, including switching a label or price tag so that you acquire the property for less than its full retail value or by removing the item from an anti-theft box. (See J.S. 2C:20-11.)
- Auto theft – Unlawfully taking another person’s motor vehicle. (See J.S. 2C:20-2.1.)
- Credit card theft – Possessing, without authorization, another person’s credit card with the intent to use it or sell it. (See J.S. 2C:21-6).
- Receiving stolen property – Knowingly receiving another’s property that you know has been stolen (or believe has probably been stolen). (See J.S. 2C:20-7.)
Keep in mind that robbery is a different offense. A person may be charged with robbery if they are accused of inflicting injury or threatening injury while in the course of committing a theft. (See N.J.S. 2C:15-1.)
What Are the Penalties for a New Jersey Theft Charge?
If you are charged with theft in New Jersey, you should be aware of the potential penalties you face if convicted. Those penalties will depend on the value of the property and other factors. (See, generally, N.J.S. 2C:20-2.)
- Disorderly Persons Offense – If the amount taken is less than $200. You can face up to six months in jail and/or a fine that is double the value of the property or $1,000, whichever is higher.
- Crime of the Fourth Degree – If the amount is at least $200 but does not exceed $500. You can face up to 18 months in prison and/or a fine that is double the value of the property or $10,000, whichever is higher.
- Crime of the Third Degree – If the amount is more than $500 but less than $75,000 or the property is:
- A firearm, motor vehicle, vessel, boat, horse, domestic companion animal or airplane
- A controlled dangerous substance and weighs one kilogram or less
- Obtained from the person of the victim
- Obtained in breach of an obligation by you in your capacity as a fiduciary and the amount involved is less than $50,000
- Obtained by a threat not amounting to extortion
- A public record, writing or instrument
- A person’s state or federal benefits (such as Social Security disability) and $75,000 or less
- Consists of anhydrous ammonia, and you intend to use it to manufacture methamphetamine.
For a Crime of the Third Degree, you can face between three to five years in prison and/or a fine that is double the value of the property or $15,000, whichever is higher.
- Crime of the Second Degree – if the amount involved is $75,000 or more or if the property is:
- Taken by extortion
- A controlled dangerous substance in a quantity in excess of one kilogram
- A person’s state or federal benefits (such as Social Security disability) and the amount exceeds $75,000
- Human remains
- Obtained in breach of an obligation in your capacity as a fiduciary and the amount involved is $50,000 or more.
For a Crime of the Second Degree, you can face between five to 10 years in prison and/or a fine that is double the value of the property or $150,000, whichever is higher.
In addition to incarceration and fines, you may be ordered to pay restitution to the person or company from whom the property was stolen.
How Can a Theft Defense Attorney NJ Help You?
If you have been charged with theft in New Jersey, you can count on attorney Anthony J. Vecchio to protect your rights and pursue the best possible outcome for you. Among the services we can provide to you are:
- Seeking your release on bond while the theft charge against you is in the process of being resolved through either a plea or trial.
- Filing discovery requests to ensure that the prosecution turns over all evidence that it plans to use against you.
- Carefully reviewing the facts of your case and filing any pre-trial motions that may be available to you, including motions to exclude any evidence that was unlawfully obtained through unreasonable search and seizure, in violation of your Miranda rights or as the result of a flawed eyewitness identification procedure.
- If evidence is excluded, seeking a dismissal or reduction of the charges against you.
- Negotiating with the prosecution to arrive at a fair plea agreement that involves dismissed charges, reduced charges and/or lighter punishment.
- Conducting a thorough review with you of the evidence, charges and potential defenses available to you, so you can have all of the information that you need before you decide to accept a plea offer or go to trial.
- Putting on a solid defense at trial, including challenging the prosecution’s case and, perhaps, putting on your own evidence. (Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to challenge many aspects of the theft charge, including whether you acted under an “honest claim of right” or the alleged value of the property.)
- If you are convicted, seeking minimum consequences for you at sentencing as far as prison time, fines and restitution.
- Handling all post-conviction legal matters, from filing an appeal to seeking an expungement of the charge from your record, which can be highly important later in life as you seek a job or pursue an educational opportunity.
Get Legal Help by Theft Charges Lawyer New Jersey
As you can see, we can and will provide a broad range of services to you. If you or a loved one has been charged with theft in New Jersey, make sure your first call is to the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio. Call or reach us online. We can get to work today on protecting your rights.