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Atlantic City Theft of Movable Property Lawyer

In New Jersey, there are multiple types of theft charges you could face. Stealing something through deception may be charged under a different statute than simple theft by unlawful taking, and things like threats of violence usually incur higher penalties through charges of robbery or theft by extortion. Furthermore, not all property can be stolen and carried away, leading to different theft statutes to cover different situations. Theft of movable property is the most basic form of theft, but that does not mean that its penalties are in any way basic or simple.

If you or a loved one was charged with theft of movable property in Atlantic City or the surrounding areas, contact the Law Offices of John J. Zarych’s Atlantic City theft of movable property lawyers today. Our attorneys can schedule you for a free, no-obligation legal consultation to help you understand the charges and potential penalties you face. For help with your case, contact our law offices today at (609) 616-4956.

Definition of Theft of Movable Property in New Jersey

“Theft by deception” is found in The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice under N.J.S.A. § 2C:20-3(a). Section 2C:20-3 covers “[t]heft by unlawful taking or disposition” and has 2 subsections: one for movable property like small items, cars, or cash, and one for immovable property like a house, a large structure, or non-physical money in a bank account. Theft of immovable property usually requires complex fact patterns where someone might sell someone a building or other interest they do not own, but the situations leading to theft of movable property charges are often much simpler.

The definition of theft of movable property is quite simple: anyone who “unlawfully takes, or exercises control over, movable property” without the owner’s permission commits a crime.

Another important detail of this definition is that taking someone else’s property is only theft if the actor does so “with purpose to deprive” the owner of the property. Simply put, this means that borrowing is not stealing. Taking something with the intent to use it and return it does not constitute theft, but it may be difficult to prove this kind of defense in court.

Examples of theft of movable property what you might expect:

  • Stealing someone’s purse or wallet while it was unattended
  • Taking items from someone’s bag or locker
  • Stealing items from someone’s yard
  • Stealing a car
  • Stealing a bike

If the items were stolen through fraud, threats, or force, or if the items were stolen from the victim’s presence or from a car, the theft could be charged under another statute and potentially face upgraded penalties. However, you could still be charged with theft of movable property on top of that theft offense – but you will usually face penalties for only one of the offenses at sentencing.

Penalties for Theft of Movable Property in NJ

The penalties for theft are graded at different levels based on the details of the offense and what was stolen. The primary factor that ranks theft crimes at different levels is the value of what was stolen. However, stealing particular items like guns, credit cards, and drugs carries increased penalties. Stealing through threats or violence could increase the penalties as well.

In New Jersey, there are two main “types” of criminal offenses: disorderly persons offenses and indictable crimes. Disorderly persons offenses are similar to “misdemeanors” in other states and carry a maximum penalty of $1,000 and 6 months in jail. Indictable crimes (or simply “crimes”) are similar to other states’ “felony” offenses and carry the potential of over a year in prison and much higher fines.

The law uses different price points to dictate different levels of crime for theft charges:

  • Theft of under $200 is a disorderly persons offense.
  • Theft of exactly $200 is a fourth degree crime.
  • Theft of $200 to $500 is also a fourth degree crime.
  • Theft of exactly $500 is a third degree crime.
  • Theft of $500 to $75,000 is also a third degree crime.
  • Theft of exactly $75,000 or more is a second degree crime.

These offenses carry different penalties based on the level of crime charged:

  • A disorderly persons offense carries up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $1,000.
  • A fourth degree crime carries up to 18 months in prison and fines up to $10,000.
  • A third degree crime carries 3-5 years in prison and fines up to $15,000.
  • A second degree crime carries 5-10 years in prison and fines up to $150,000.

If the property or money that you stole was worth more than the fine for that level of crime, your fine could be increased to cover the full cost of what was stolen.

Atlantic City Theft of Movable Property Defense Lawyers Offering Free Consultations

If you or a loved one was charged with theft of movable property in New Jersey, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych today. Our Atlantic City theft of movable property attorneys offer free legal consultations for defendants charged with theft crimes and other serious offenses in New Jersey. To schedule your free, confidential legal consultation, call our law offices today at (609) 616-4956.

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