New Jersey Theft Laws & Penalties

There are several ways the State of New Jersey can charge you with theft. For example, one can be charged with petty theft, shoplifting, or a higher degree of theft. Theft isn’t always a minor charge; it can be quite serious. Theft is most commonly a criminal charge, and it can result in a criminal record. Additionally, it can result in jail time, fines, and potential community service.

The type of theft charge brought against you will depend on the circumstances resulting in your arrest. The charge will depend on factors such as the manner in which the goods were unlawfully appropriated as well as the value of the goods. This can mean that the theft of a single item could have considerable consequences.

The State of New Jersey bases its penalties for theft primarily upon the value of the stolen goods. (The manner in which goods are stolen impacts the charge.) The theft of even a relatively inexpensive item can result in jail time! A summarized breakdown of the penalties for value-based theft includes the following:

  • Less than $200. Considered a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor) and can
  • result in up to 6 months in jail.
  • More than $200 up to $500. Considered a 4th degree crime and can result in up to 18 months in jail.
  • More than $500 and less than $75,000. Considered to be a 3rd-degree crime and is punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison.
  • More $75,000. Considered to be a 2nd-degree crime and it carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

As discussed above, theft can be charged as either a Second or Third Degree crime. Although an individual can be charged with a Second or Third Degree crime simply because of the stolen property’s value, he or she can also be charged as a result of the manner in which the crime is committed. Some examples include:

Second Degree Crime:

  • If the property is taken by extortion.
  • If the property is considered a dangerous or controlled substance and is greater than 1 kilogram.

Third Degree Crime:

  • The property is a controlled or dangerous substance valued less than $75,000 and less than one kilogram.
  • The property is taken from the person of the victim.
  • The property is taken by threat.
  • The property is a blank prescription.

As you can see, even items with a nominal valuation can lead to serious charges and potentially lengthy jail time.

Call 856-227-2434 today for a free consultation.
If you are charged with theft, you should consult a criminal defense attorney. Attorneys play a vital role in defending the accused and protecting legal rights. More importantly, a New Jersey theft lawyer can evaluate the facts of the case to determine those which could serve affirmative defense. Otherwise, a lawyer may be able to have the charges and/or penalties against you reduced. Schedule your free consultation today and see how John C. Iannelli, Attorney at Law, can help you best resolve your case.

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