Theft Offenses

Criminal Defense Lawyer Representing New Jersey Residents

Theft offenses are taken seriously in New Jersey. The nature of the punishment upon a conviction depends on which type of theft is charged. Generally, it is based on the value of the property or services that were taken. Retaining a criminal defense attorney is a critical step to take if you are facing charges or suspicion of theft. At the Grimes Law Firm, New Jersey theft crime lawyer Raymond A. Grimes can look at all of the details surrounding your situation. He may be able to develop a strong defense on your behalf.

Understanding Theft Offenses and How to Fight Them

There are several different forms of theft. The first and most commonly recognized is theft by unlawful taking or disposition of movable property with the purpose of depriving someone else of that property. This is criminalized under N.J.S. 2C:20-3. For example, if you took a television from a retail store so that you could resell it on the black market, this would be theft by unlawful taking.

However, you may also be guilty of theft for unlawfully transferring an interest in the immovable property of someone else in order to benefit yourself or someone else who is not entitled to the property. For example, if you used a power of attorney to transfer your aunt's interest in a house to yourself without her knowing, this would also be theft.

You may be convicted of theft if the prosecution proves beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally took someone else's property through deception. There is deception, for example, if you purposely created a false impression, such as when someone claims to be soliciting funds for charity when they are actually collecting them for their own use. However, the prosecution may not draw an inference that you intended not to perform on a promise simply from the fact that you did not perform. A theft crime attorney can assist New Jersey residents in countering an effort to draw this inference.

Another situation in which a theft charge may arise is when the defendant got someone's property by preventing that person from receiving information that would have affected their judgment regarding the transaction. Finally, you may also be convicted of theft when you acquire property by failing to correct a false impression that you created or reinforced if you know that it influences someone to whom you stand in a fiduciary relationship. Deceit in these different situations does not include exaggerating by using words that are unlikely to deceive an ordinary person in the group that is being addressed or stating falsehoods that do not have any economic relevance.

New Jersey courts also recognize theft by extortion, which happens in situations in which the defendant intentionally and illegally gets someone else's property through extortion. Extortion exists in a variety of situations, including when someone intentionally threatens to inflict a physical injury, restrain someone, or commit another crime. It also occurs when someone threatens to accuse another person of an offense or have charges initiated against them. Extortion also exists when someone purposely threatens to expose a secret or claim something as a fact, whether or not it is true, if it would subject the target to ridicule, contempt, hatred, or a damaged reputation or credit.

In many of these circumstances, it may be possible to raise the affirmative defense that the property acquired through extortion was honestly claimed as compensation for services, indemnification for a harm committed, or restitution.

Other types of theft include the receipt of stolen property, the theft of services, concealment of library materials, and shoplifting. Each type of theft is classified based on the value of the property stolen or appropriated.

When the property or services are valued at less than $200, theft is a disorderly persons offense. A defendant who is convicted of a disorderly persons offense may be imprisoned for up to six months and fined up to $1,000 or double the loss of the victim.

However, if the value of the property or services is between $200 and $500, the theft is a crime of the fourth degree. You may be imprisoned for up to 18 months and fined up to $10,000 or double the loss, whichever is higher.

When the value is between $500 and $75,000, or in certain other enumerated circumstances, the theft is considered a crime of the third degree. This may lead to three to five years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $15,000 or double the loss, whichever is higher.

When the property taken is worth $75,000 or more, or the property is taken by extortion or in certain other circumstances, the theft is a crime of the second degree. A sentence for theft as a crime of the second degree may include imprisonment for up to 10 years and a fine of up to $150,000 or twice the monetary loss of the victim, whichever is higher.

Protect Your Rights by Retaining a Theft Crime Lawyer in New Jersey

Theft charges may have a lasting impact on a defendant’s reputation and employment opportunities if they are not swiftly and energetically addressed. At the Grimes Law Firm, we represent defendants in Neshanic Station and elsewhere in Somerset County, as well as throughout the tri-state area. Contact us online or at (908) 371-1066 to schedule a free consultation with a New Jersey theft crime attorney. Raymond A. Grimes also can represent people who need a drug crime lawyer or advocacy in other criminal matters.

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