New Jersey Theft Defense Lawyer
If you have been arrested for a New Jersey theft offense, you could be facing some very serious penalties. A theft offense conviction can result in incarceration, hefty fines, and a criminal record that can negatively affect your future. It is important to remember that no matter the charge, you have a right to defend yourself–reach out to the skilled criminal attorneys at Sarofiem & Antoun, LLC to see how they can help you with your defense. Any criminal charge is worth fighting!
What is Theft?
Simply put, theft means taking another person’s property with the intent to permanently keep it from the owner of that property. New Jersey law goes into detail about specific types of theft and the consequences attached to each conviction.
New Jersey Theft Offenses
There are several different types of theft offenses under New Jersey law. Common offenses include:
- Theft by unlawful taking or disposition (NJS 2C:20-3): This section covers basic theft. It defines theft as unlawfully taking or transfer of another’s property whether that property is moveable or immovable. Moveable property is property that can physically be moved or transported, like jewelry, paintings, or furniture. Immoveable property applies to things like land or a bank account—while you can’t actually move these things, you can still commit theft if you unlawfully transfer ownership of these items into your name.
- Theft by deception (NJS 2C:20-4): You can be found guilty of the crime of theft if you obtain the property of another person through deception. For example, if you purposely give someone a false impression, fail to correct a false impression, or withhold important information, to get their property or money, this can be considered theft by deception.
- Theft by extortion (NJS 2C:20-5): Under this section of New Jersey Law, it is a crime to force another person to give you their property by extortion. There are many actions that can be considered extortion such as threatening physical harm, falsely accusing a person of a crime, and threatening to publicly tell a secret.
- Theft of Services (NJS 2C:20-8): It is considered theft if you purposely obtain services without paying for them. For example, if you intentionally tap into another person’s electricity, gas, water, or even television so you don’t have to pay, this is considered a theft of service. Also, if you go to a restaurant or hotel and leave without paying for their services, it is also considered this type of theft.
- Shoplifting (NJS 2C: 20-11): Shoplifting is a form of theft that most people know about. Essentially, taking any merchandise from a store without paying for it is considered shoplifting. However, it is also considered shoplifting if a person switches a price tag and thus does not pay the full value of an item.
New Jersey Theft Offense Penalties
If you are convicted of any New Jersey theft crime, you can face very serious penalties. When it comes to theft, the severity of the penalty and whether the crime is charged as a misdemeanor or felony depends on factors such as the value of the property taken or the type of property taken.
- Theft of less than $200: If the value of the property taken in a theft is less than $200, the theft is considered a disorderly persons offense. This is a misdemeanor charge. Penalties can include up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
- Theft of $200-$500: If the value of the property taken in a theft offense is more than $200 but equal to or less than $500, the theft is considered a fourth-degree felony. The consequences for a fourth-degree felony can include incarceration for up to 18 months and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
- Theft of $500-$75,000 or certain property: If the value of the theft exceeds $500 but is less than $75,000, or the type of property taken was a firearm, car, boat, horse, pet, or airplane, the offense is considered a third-degree felony. The penalty for this type of offense is three to five years in prison and hefty fines.
- Theft of $75,000+: If the value of the property taken in a theft offense is $75,000 or more, or the property taken was a controlled substance (more than 1 kilogram), it is considered a second-degree felony offense. A second-degree felony has severe penalties that can include incarceration of 5-10 years and/or a fine of up to $150,000.
In addition to any time in custody or fines you may face for a theft crime, you may also be ordered to pay restitution to the victim of the theft offense for their losses. If you are ordered to pay restitution to the victim, it is in addition to other fines the courts can impose.
Get Help Defending Your Theft Charges
If you or someone you care about is facing theft charges in New Jersey, it is important to talk to a skilled criminal defense attorney right away. A theft conviction can totally alter your life–your future ability to get a job, loan, housing, or schooling can be negatively impacted if you have a criminal record. Even a smaller theft offense such as shoplifting can follow you into the future. You do not want to risk the serious consequences that can come from a theft conviction. This is why it is crucial to have an attorney who will fight to protect your rights and advocate for the best possible outcome in your case.
The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Sarofiem & Antoun, LLC know the serious penalties that can result from a theft offense conviction and understand the defenses available in theft crimes, such as demonstrating that you lacked the intent to commit theft. It is also possible to negotiate for a lesser charge, depending on the circumstances of your case. We can discuss the details of your case during a free case consultation–contact us anytime, day or night, for your free consultation by calling or texting us at (201) 792-3333!