Theft in New Jersey
In New Jersey, theft cases are classified by the value of the property involved. If you have been charged with a theft offense such as shoplifting, theft of services, or theft by deception, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney as the penalties for a conviction are harsh. Attorney Mark A. Schneider has over 25 years of defense experience throughout Central New Jersey and will help fight your case.
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By definition theft is the unlawful taking or usurping control over someone else’s property with the intention of depriving that person (or business) of such property. This can, and often does, include instances of builders comingling deposits with personal accounts. The value of the “property” in question will determine how you are charged (disorderly persons offense or indictable offense) and the punishment you will face. In the case of shoplifting if the item is valued at $200 or less you would be charged with a disorderly persons offense and would face up to 6 months in jail, fines and a criminal record.
A theft charge in New Jersey may be a second degree crime (indictable offense) if the value of the property involved is $75,000 or more. Other second degree crime scenarios include when the property is taken by extortion; the property stolen is an illegal drug in excess of one kilogram; the property stolen is health care benefits involving more than $75,000; or the property stolen is human remains. A second degree theft charge is punishable by a jail term of five to 10 years, and a fine of not more than $150,000.
When the value of the stolen property is between $500 and $75,000, it will be graded as a third degree crime. Third dree theft charges also include when the property stolen is a firearm, motor vehicle, or boat (list not exhaustive); or the property involves illegal drugsvalued at less than $75,000 or is a less than one kilogram. Other theft offenses that are considered third degree crimes include, breaching a fiduciary duty (under $50,000); a threat not amounting to extortion; theft of a public record; theft of health care benefits; theft of research property; theft of a prescription pad; theft of an access device; and theft of anhydrous ammonia to manufacture methamphetamine. Third degree theft charges are punishable by imprisonment from three to five years and a fine of not more than $15,000.
Theft constitutes a crime of the fourth degree in New Jersey if the value of the property or services involved is at least $200 but not more than $500. Punishment for a crime of the fourth degree includes imprisonment up to 18 months and a fine up to $10,000.
Theft Impact on the Accused’s Future
Regardless of the nature of the offense (i.e. violent-robbery or non-violent-fraud), a conviction for theft can have a significant impact on the accused’s future. Theft charges carry with them a permanent criminal record which can make obtaining a job, renting an apartment, owning a firearm, and furthering your education, exceedingly difficult as these charges will turn up in a background check.
Seek the Expertise of a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one are facing a theft charge in any of the above varying degrees, it is recommended that you seek the expertise of a Criminal DefenseAttorney. Mark A. Schneider will review your case with you to determine the best course of action and look to dismiss or downgrade the charges against you. Call Mark today for a consultation to protect your rights and reputation 609-242-9337.