If you are charged with committing a crime, serious formal consequences including jail time and monetary penalties can apply. Aside from the formal penalties, the criminally accused also face a significant social stigma due to their alleged acts. For many people even a criminal charge can lead to a narrowing of occupational opportunities. If you are facing charges for shoplifting, petty theft, robbery, or burglary, you face serious consequences that can potentially have a devastating effect on the life you have come to enjoy.
While facing criminal charges of any type is a stressful and difficult position to be placed in, the good news is that you don’t have to go through the criminal justice system alone. Remember, if you are facing criminal charges you will be up against experienced prosecutors whose goal is to secure a conviction. Work with an experienced criminal justice attorney like those of the Law Offices of John J. Zarych. Cumulatively, we have more than 45 years of experience and can fight aggressively and strategically to reduce or eliminate the charges you face.
What is Considered Theft in NJ?
Like with most crimes in the state of New Jersey, the crime of theft can be charged at a number of levels of severity. The degree of charges an accused faces is based on the severity of the offense. For theft offenses it is based on the amount allegedly improperly converted or stolen. The levels of theft and the maximum punishments one can face are:
- Theft valued at more than $75,000 – As a second-degree indictable offense, theft at this level can be punished by up to 10 years in state prison.
- Theft valued between $500 and $75,000 – With such a broad range and inflation increasing the paper value of many items, many thefts are prosecuted at this level as a third-degree crime. Upon conviction a maximum sentence of up to 5 years in prison can be imposed
- Theft valued between $200 and $500 – As a fourth-degree crime, theft at this grade can be punished by up to 18 months in prison.
- Theft valued at less than $200 – Theft of this type is a disorderly persons offense. It can be punished by a prison sentence of up to six months.
There are certain special types of theft that are defined by the conduct of the individual. One of these types of theft is known as embezzlement. Embezzlement occurs when a theft is committed in an employer-employee relationship. The employee may allegedly steal small amounts of money over a long period of time or a large lump sum once.
How Are Burglary and Robbery Different?
While it is not uncommon for individuals in general conversation to use these terms imprecisely or interchangeably, they have a distinct legal meaning. Burglary can only be charged when a person enters onto a property without authorization to commit further offenses. For instance, an individual who breaks into his or her workplace after hours to steal research materials for a competitor has committed burglary.
In contrast to burglary, robbery is more similar to standard theft charges. That is, robbery requires the commission of a theft plus the threat or actual use of force to facilitate the theft. In essence, theft is a lesser included offense of robbery. If the threat or actual use of force involves a weapon, then first degree criminal charges can be advance against the accused. A first-degree indictable offense in New Jersey, similar to a first-degree felony in other jurisdictions, can be punished by up to 20 years in state prison.
Strategic Criminal Defense For Your Particular Situation
Facing criminal charges is a difficult situation that no individual would wish to find him or herself. For some first-time offenders, New Jersey’s Pretrial Intervention program can permit the individual to focus on rehabilitation rather than the criminal justice process and punishment. In other circumstances, PTI may be unavailable due to previous convictions, previous participation in the program, or the nature of the offense. In circumstances like these, you will likely be presented with a plea deal. Understanding whether the deal is appropriate for your circumstances can be greatly aided through the guidance and assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Finally, there are the situations where the accused simply cannot afford a criminal conviction and are willing to take the matter to trial. We are experienced in protecting your rights and freedom at every stage of the process including at in-court hearings and at trial. To schedule a free and confidential criminal defense consultation call us at (609) 616-4956 or contact us online today.