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Grand Larceny

Facing Grand Larceny charges in New Jersey? Contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Breslow Law Offices today for a free consultation.

Grand larceny is a serious crime in New Jersey and can carry stiff penalties, depending on the monetary value and type of merchandise stolen. A grand larceny conviction can result in a fine, incarceration, or both. 

If you or a loved one has been accused or charged with a grand larceny charge in New Jersey, the larceny lawyers at Breslow Law can help. 

Our skilled defense attorney have decades of experience in criminal law and have helped thousands of individuals throughout New Jersey get their criminal offense charges reduced, dismissed, or dropped. 

Contact us online or call 973-239-8000 today for a free consultation.

What Is grand larceny in New Jersey?

The crime of theft, or larceny, occurs when someone takes property that belongs to another person or institution. Property can include anything of value, such as jewelry, computers, automobiles, real estate, services, and intangible personal property.

While many states classify theft as a felony or misdemeanor, New Jersey uses different terms depending upon its seriousness. 

Although taking anything that belongs to another is a theft crime, not all theft crimes equally classify as felonies under New Jersey law. Taking a candy bar from a grocery store constitutes larceny, but the crime is less serious than stealing an automobile and the law recognizes these differences.  

Under New Jersey law, larceny is divided into petty larceny - also known as disorderly persons offence or misdemeanor - and grand larceny, depending on the value of the stolen goods. Grand larceny is the theft of items worth more than $200 and is further divided into degrees, with a fourth degree offence being considered a less severe felony and a second-degree offence being the most serious. 

A third-degree crime is generally of goods valued between $500 and $75,000 and taken by any means other than extortion. It also applies to the theft of less than one kilogram of most controlled substances, even if their value is less than $200.

A second-degree crime generally applies to thefts of items valued at more than $75,000, or more than one kilogram of a controlled substance, or items procured through extortion. It also applies to stealing federal or State benefits and stealing any part of human remains.

What are the possible penalties for larceny in New Jersey?

The penalties for larceny in New Jersey vary depend upon the degree of the offense as well as Degrees include disorderly persons offense, second-degree, third-degree, and fourth-degree. 

Theft (disorderly person offense)

Disorderly persons theft or petty disorderly persons' theft are relatively minor offenses (like low-value shoplifting) and include thefts of property valued at less than $200. They also apply if the stolen property is an electronic vehicle identity transponder. If convicted of a disorderly persons theft, a judge can sentence the person to up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. For petty disorderly persons theft, a judge can sentence the person to up to 30 days in prison. The judge also may order the person to pay a fine of up to $500.

Second-degree theft

In contrast with disorderly persons offenses which are minor, second-degree theft is the most severe grand larceny offense in New Jersey. The fine for a second-degree theft conviction can be as much as $150,000, or the judge can require that the person make restitution up to double the amount of the thief's gain or the victim's loss, whichever is greater. If convicted, the person also may be sentenced to five to 10 years in prison.

Third-degree theft

Third-degree theft typically involves automobiles, boats, firearms, and jewelry valued between $500 and $75,000. Penalties for third-degree theft include a prison term of between three and five years. The judge also could order a fine of up to $15,000 or restitution of double the amount of the gain or victim's loss, whichever is greater.

Fourth-degree theft

A person convicted of fourth-degree theft may receive a jail sentence of up to 18 months. They also may be required to pay a fine of up to $10,000 or double the amount of the victim's loss, whichever is greater.

Factors that determine your criminal charges in New Jersey

Theft law in New Jersey has a lot of nuances. Sometimes two different people stealing similar items will be charged differently. Several factors determine the level of the criminal charge filed for thefts in New Jersey. 

Type of Theft Crime

New Jersey categorizes thefts by type, in addition to classifying them by the degrees of indictable theft crimes and disorderly persons thefts. Types of thefts include shoplifting, theft by deception, theft by extortion, theft of services, theft of movable property (like car theft), and receiving of stolen goods. Robbery is another type of theft crime and is distinguished from other thefts by the use of force. The type of theft is one factor that influences the criminal charge.

Value of the stolen item

In general, the greater the value of the stolen item, the more serious the charge. Suppose the stolen items are valued at less than $250, and no other extenuating circumstances are present. In that case, the person will likely be charged with the lesser disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses. 

The next value tier is for goods valued between $250 and $500. Goods valued between $500 and $75,000 are at another tier, and goods valued at more than $75,000 are higher.

Presence (or absence) of weapons

Whether someone had a weapon with them during the theft crime also affects how they will be charged. Threatening an individual with a weapon while stealing from them can result in a robbery charge, which is a second or first-degree charge in New Jersey.

Whether it was a first-time offense or not

Whether the person is a first-time offender may impact the seriousness of the charge. It also can affect how the person is tried. For example, New Jersey offers some nonviolent first-offenders the opportunity to participate in a Pretrial Intervention Program

Those who successfully complete the program will have no criminal conviction on their records. This one-time opportunity offers the offender rehabilitation and a chance to continue without long-term effects on their lives. 

Another opportunity is a Conditional Dismissal, which allows the offender to maintain a clean record. A third opportunity is a Conditional Discharge, which may occur if drugs were involved in the offense. A good criminal defense lawyer can help a first-offender make a case for acceptance into one of these programs.

Key Takeaways

  • A theft or larceny crime occurs in New Jersey when someone takes property belonging to another.
  • Being convicted of a theft offense can negatively affect an individual's life. In many cases, the individual faces prison time, fines, and a criminal record. They also may be deported if they are an immigrant.
  • Theft crimes can be classified by degree based on the value of the property and other factors. Petty theft crimes involve goods of less than $250. Grand theft or grand larceny crimes involve goods of more than $250 and are further divided into degrees.
  • More serious theft offenses are indictable offenses. Less serious ones are disorderly persons offenses.
  • In general, penalties are more significant depending upon the value of the goods stolen. However, other aggravating factors can affect the charge and sentencing, such as whether a weapon was used, what was stolen, and whether the thief has a prior criminal record.
  • Theft crimes may be classified by specific types: shoplifting, theft by extortion, and theft by deception. 
  • First-time nonviolent offenders may be eligible for several state programs that allow them to maintain a clean record.

Accused of a theft crime? Get your charges reduced, dismissed, or dropped.

Being charged with a theft crime can be frustrating, scary, and confusing. These charges have potentially life-altering consequences (including jail time) and must be addressed vigorously with the help of the strongest advocate you can find.

The criminal defense attorneys at Breslow Law Offices have successfully combated criminal theft and fraud charges for more than 45 years. The firm advocates ferociously for clients charged with grand larceny throughout Essex County, Verona County, Ocean County, and New Jersey. 

The attorneys at Breslow Law Offices have previous experience as prosecutors of theft and fraud crimes; Mr. Breslow served in the Organized Crime Unit of the Attorney General's Office, where he was exposed to large-scale theft and fraud operations. Now, he employs this unique knowledge and expertise to combat the State's case against his clients.

Speak with a criminal defense lawyer about your grand larceny charges today

Understanding the theft charges against you is an essential first step in building a solid legal defense. The attorneys at Breslow Law Offices can analyze your charges, will keep you informed throughout the process of your case, and will work collaboratively with you to achieve a positive outcome. 

Don't wait if you have been charged with grand larceny in New Jersey. Let the skilled criminal defense attorneys at Breslow Law protect your rights.

Contact us online or call 973-239-8000 today for a free consultation.


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