An Overview of Theft in New Jersey
Theft is taken seriously in New Jersey. The punishment that you get will depend on the value of the property that you took. Theft is considered a second-degree crime if you stole something that is worth $75,000 or more. Additionally, if the theft involved extortion or drugs, then it will also be considered a second-degree crime.
Theft is a third-degree crime if you stole something that is worth between $500 and $75,000. If a firearm, boat, airplane or domestic companion animal is stolen, then it will also be considered a third-degree crime. Additionally, theft is a fourth-degree crime if what you stole is worth between $200 and $500. If you stole something that is less than $200, then you will likely get a disorderly persons offense charge.
Punishment for Theft in New Jersey
The specific type of theft crime, how much was stolen, whether it was the person’s first time and whether another crime was committed while one was stealing are the main factors that will determine the type of punishment one gets. The most serious type of theft crime you can be charged with is a first-degree felony. You could spend a maximum of 30 years in prison. You could also be ordered to pay a $200,000 fine.
A second-degree felony carries a five to 10 year prison sentence and a $15,000 fine. The punishment for getting charged with a third-degree felony is a three to five-year and a $10,000 fine. A fourth-degree felony is the least serious type of felony that you can be charged with. However, you can still face up to 18 months in jail and be charged a $10,000 fine.
A disorderly persons offense is a misdemeanor charge. The maximum jail time is six months. You can be charged a fine of $1,000.
Defenses to Theft
It is scary to be charged with any type of crime. You may be thinking about all of the punishments that you can potentially face. However, the best thing that you can do is to hire an attorney. Your attorney can help you come up with a good defense. The following defenses can be used for theft.
Claim of Ownership
Claim of ownership is the top theft defense that can be used. You could possibly convince the court that you had a reason to believe that the property that you took was rightfully yours. However, you can’t just say that the property was yours. You have to provide evidence.
If you were intoxicated during the time that you stole something, then you may be able to use this as a defense. Intent has to be proven before you can be convicted of theft. You can argue that you did not intend to steal, and you wouldn’t have stolen if you were not under the influence of alcohol.
Entrapment occurs when a police officer or government agent convinces someone to commit a crime in order to get them arrested. It is illegal for anyone to do this. If you were a victim of entrapment, then you will likely get your charges dropped.
Why You Need the Help of a Theft Defense Attorney
Call an attorney as soon as possible if you are facing theft charges. Your attorney will begin working on your case immediately and fight hard to defend you against the charges that you are facing. The prosecutor will try to come down on you as hard as possible. That is why your freedom and rights are on the line if you are accused of any type of crime. Your attorney will work hard to defend both.
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