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Theft Crimes

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers for Theft Crimes

New Jersey Business LawyersOur criminal attorneys represent individuals charged with theft crimes. New Jersey’s criminal statutes define theft as the “unlawful taking” or “exercising of control” over property belonging to someone other than the perpetrator. The perpetrator must act with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of his or her property. (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3).

In New Jersey, there are also several different types of theft offenses, which are as follows:

  • theft by deception (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4)
  • theft by extortion (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-5)
  • theft of lost property, or property that has been delivered by mistake (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-6)
  • receiving stolen property (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7)
  • theft of services (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-8)
  • shoplifting (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11)
  • concealment of library material (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-13)

Penalties for New Jersey Theft Offenses

Most theft offenses are classified based on the value of the property that is the subject of the offense. The classifications, including corresponding penalties, are as follows:

  • Theft -Disorderly Persons Offense.  Theft constitutes a “disorderly persons offense” in New Jersey if the value of the property or services that are the subject of the theft is less than $200.00 (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-2(b)(4); N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3)

A person convicted of theft as a disorderly persons offense faces imprisonment, which is NOT mandatory, for a term not exceeding 6 months, and/or a fine not exceeding $1,000.00 (or double the amount of monetary loss to the victim, whichever is higher). (N.J.S.A.2C:43-3; N.J.S.A. 2C:43-8)

  • Theft-Fourth Degree. Theft constitutes a “crime of the fourth degree” in New Jersey if the value of the property or services involved that are the subject of the theft is at least $200.00 but not more than $500.00. (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-2(b)(3), N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3)

A person convicted of theft as a crime of the fourth degree is subject to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 18 months, and/or a fine not to exceed $10,000.00 (or double the amount of monetary loss to the victim, whichever is higher). (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-3, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6.)

  • Theft-Third Degree. Theft constitutes a “crime of the third degree” in New Jersey if:
      1. the value of the property or services involved is more than $500.00 but less than $75,000.00;
      2. the stolen property is a firearm, motor vehicle, vessel, boat, horse, domestic companion animal or airplane;
      3. the property is a controlled dangerous substance in an amount less than one kilogram, or with a value of less than $75,000.00;
      4. the property is taken from the person of the victim;
      5. the property is taken in breach of an obligation by a person acting as a fiduciary;
      6. the property is taken by threat that does not rise to the level of extortion;
      7. the property is a public instrument, writing, or record;
      8. the property is a New Jersey prescription blank;
      9. the property is an access device; or
      10. the property is anhydrous ammonia and is intended to be used to manufacture methamphetamine. (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-2(b)(2); N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3)

A person convicted of theft as a crime of the third degree faces imprisonment for a term from 3 to 5 years, and/or a fine not to exceed $15,000.00 (or double the amount of monetary loss to the victim, whichever is higher) (N.J.S.A.2C:43-3; N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6.)

  • Theft-Second Degree. Theft constitutes a “crime of the second degree” in New Jersey if any of the following circumstances exists:
      1. the value of the property or services involved is $75,000.00 or more;
      2. the property is taken by extortion;
      3. the property is a controlled dangerous substance in excess of one kilogram; or
      4. the property is human remains. (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-2(b)(1); N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3)

A person convicted of theft as a crime of the second degree faces imprisonment for a term from 5 to 10 years, and/or a fine not to exceed $150,000.00 (or double the amount of monetary loss to the victim, whichever is higher). (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-3;  N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6)

Restitution Orders. In addition to imprisonment and/or a fine, the court may order a person convicted of a theft offense to pay restitution to the theft victim, meaning that the offender must repay the victim for the victim’s monetary losses associated with the theft. (N.J.S.A.  2C:43-3.)

Note on Motor Vehicle Theft. A person who steals a motor vehicle must pay a $500.00  penalty, and will be subject to a driver’s license suspension for a period of 1 year. (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-2.1).  For a second offense involving theft of a motor vehicle, a person must pay a penalty of $750.00, and face a driver’s license suspension of 2 years. For a third or subsequent offense, the penalty is $1,000.00, and the driver’s license suspension period is 10 years. Additionally, if the fair market vehicle of the motor vehicle at the time of the theft is more than $7,500.00 and the motor vehicle is not recovered, the court may order the offender to pay a fine in that higher amount. (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-2.2.)

Shoplifting in New Jersey

In New Jersey, shoplifting is considered a theft offense.  In addition to criminal penalties set forth above, a person who commits shoplifting in New Jersey (or the parent or legal guardian of a person who commits shoplifting) is liable to the merchant or store owner for the following:

  • the value of the merchandise as monetary damages of not more than $500.00, if the merchandise is no longer in sellable condition;
  • additional damages arising from the incident, and
  • a civil penalty payable to the merchant in an amount of up to $150.00  (N.J.S.A. 2A:61C-1)

If you or a family member has been arrested or charged with theft in New Jersey contact our New Jersey criminal defense lawyers today, or call us at (201) 498-0400 to schedule a consultation.

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