Criminal Defense Lawyers serving clients in West Long Branch, Red Bank, Colts Neck, Asbury Park and across Monmouth County.
Being charged with theft in the state of New Jersey is no laughing matter and it is important to understand the type of theft charges you may be facing. The crime of theft, New Jersey Statutes 2C:20-3, can involve several different criminal offenses but can be reduced to the unauthorized possession of someone else’s property. This may be theft by deception, by extortion, of services, or shoplifting.
The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice categorized the two types of theft as either of moveable property and immovable property. Theft of moveable property occurs when someone unlawfully takes or exercises unlawful control over, movable property of another with the purpose to deprive them thereof. Immoveable property theft is when a person unlawfully transfers any interest in immovable property of another with the purpose to benefit himself or another not legally entitled to it. All theft crimes in New Jersey can include one or both elements.
Means of Theft as defined in New Jersey
The manner in which a theft occurs can be critical in prosecuting or defending against any theft charge. The commonly accepted manner of theft in include by deception, extortion, of services, and shoplifting. Each situation is very different however it is possible where a theft crime may contain more than one.
Theft by Deception
When a person intentionally deceives another person with the purpose of obtaining their property this is theft by deception. Put simply, theft by deception is the act of formulating a false belief or impression in another person or group with the intention to steal.
Theft by deception also occurs when someone prevents another individual from gaining certain information that would affect their reasoning for completing a transaction. Failing to correct a false impression or reinforcing a false impression, can bring a charge of theft by deception.
Theft by extortion is when someone uses threats or coercion to possess someone else’s property or money. This threat or coercion can be by use of violence or fear and also blackmail. However, it is important to remember that violence is not the only way for extortion to occur. For example, threatening to expose information about someone in a way that may damage their life or reputation can be considered blackmail and theft by extortion.
Theft of Services
When an individual receives an agreed-upon service from another person or company and doesn’t pay for it this is theft of services. A common example of theft of service is when someone eats or drinks at a restaurant or bar and then leaves without paying. Furthermore, stealing cable or Wi-Fi is also considered theft of service. Moreover, one can be charged with theft of service if they use violence, threats, or deception in order to receive services without paying.
One of the most common forms of theft crimes in New Jersey is shoplifting. If someone takes something from a store without paying for it, this is considered shoplifting. It is important to note that there are other unlawful actions that can also be filed as a shoplifting charge. For example, switching a price tag or label on an item in order to pay less could also be considered shoplifting.
Penalties for Theft Crimes in New Jersey
Theft crimes can vary based on both the circumstance and the value of the theft. The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice penalizes theft crimes as follows:
Disorderly Persons Offense:
- From 30 days to 6 months in jail
- Possible fines and legal fees
Fourth Degree Theft (When property stolen equals a value of $200 but less than $500):
- Up to 18 months in jail
- Fines up to $10,000 or as much as double the stolen amount
Third Degree Theft (When the stolen property equates to the value of $500, but less than $75,000) or theft of a firearm, boat, plane, car, or companion animal:
- 3-5 years in jail
- Fines up to $15,000 or as much as double the amount that was stolen
Second Degree Theft (Property stolen equates to the value of $75,000 or more)
- 5-10 years in jail
- Fines up to $150,000 or double the stolen amount
Contact a West Long Branch Law Firm
As listed above, penalties for theft crimes can be extensive and life-changing. If you or someone you know has been charged with theft it is critical to have an experienced and skilled attorney as your advocate.
Our attorneys Chamlin, Rosen, Uliano & Witherington handle theft cases in West Long Branch, Red Bank, Colts Neck, Asbury Park and across Monmouth County.
Please contact us online or call 732-440-3950 immediately to make an appointment with one of our attorneys trained and experienced in this area of the law. He or she will work tirelessly to meet your needs in a professional and confidential manner.