Theft Charges NJ
The charge of “theft” is nuanced and far-reaching, encompassing a variety of offenses ranging from auto theft to theft by deception, theft of services, credit card theft, identity theft, and theft by extortion. In addition, certain other crimes involve a theft component, such as robbery, burglary, and carjacking, each of which entails its own consequences. So, what exactly distinguishes between these theft offenses and what are the implications for you as a defendant faced with a theft allegation?
Under New Jersey Law the general theft statute applies to thefts involving movable and immovable property, with the critical factor being the vague term “property.” The other theft crimes mentioned above specify either the specific type of property associated with the alleged offense (i.e. auto theft) or the means by which the theft was committed (i.e. by deception). As a defendant, it is important to understand the degree of your theft charges, which are generally contingent upon the estimated value of the alleged stolen property. The grading of these charges will then determine the penalties to which you are exposed if convicted.
Theft Charges in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3
General theft charges are addressed in section N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3 of the New Jersey Criminal Code, which reads:
- A person is guilty of theft if he unlawfully takes, or exercises unlawful control over, movable property of another with the purpose to deprive him thereof.
- A person is guilty of theft if he unlawfully transfers any interest in immovable property of another with the purpose to benefit himself or another not entitled thereto.
Theft Penalties in New Jersey
Below is a list differentiating between the levels of theft charges and associated penalties as provided by the statute above:
Second Degree Theft: punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 5 to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison
- The amount involved is $75,000 or more;
- The property is taken by extortion; or
- The property stolen is a controlled dangerous substance (“CDS”) and the quantity is in excess of one kilogram.
Third Degree Theft: punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 3 to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison
- The amount involved exceeds $500 but is less than $75,000;
- The property stolen is a firearm, motor vehicle, vessel, boat, horse, domestic companion animal or airplane;
- The property stolen is a CDS and the amount involved is less than $75,000 or is undetermined and the quantity is one kilogram or less;
- It is from the person of the victim; or
- The property stolen is a New Jersey Prescription Blank.
Fourth Degree Theft: punishable by a term of incarceration up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison
- The amount involved is at least $200 by does not exceed $500
Disorderly Persons Offense Theft: punishable by a term of incarceration up to 6 months in the county jail
- The amount involved is less than $200
*It is important to note that a theft conviction can also result in significant restitution payments to the victim or organization to compensate for the financial losses associated with the theft. A conviction for theft may also have negative consequences for your immigration status if you are not currently a U.S. citizen. Contact Breslow Law Offices learn more.
Charged With Theft in NJ?
The attorneys at Breslow Law Offices have navigated through countless theft cases as both prosecutors and defense attorneys. They have been exposed to every form of theft crime and as such, they know what it takes to win these cases. Call today to speak with an attorney at Breslow Law Offices free of charge and find answers to your questions.