It does not matter how minor a charge for theft is, a conviction for theft or shoplifting can negatively impact your future. Theft charges can carry monetary fines, jail time, and will create a permanent criminal record that can make it difficult for you to find a job, and may even wholly preclude you from applying to certain positions. If you or a loved one has been charged with theft in Cape May County, do not wait to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney from the Law Offices of John J. Zarych.
At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our criminal defense lawyers are dedicated to aggressive client advocacy, no matter how complex or serious the charges may be. We will fight hard to defend your liberties and will leave no stone unturned when examining the evidence against you. Our knowledgeable legal team has over 45 years of combined experience representing both adults and juveniles, and we are proud to offer free initial consultations.
For a free and private consultation, call our law offices right away at (609) 616-4956. You will not be charged any fees, and we will keep your information confidential. Se habla español.
Different Theft Offenses in Cape May County
Being charged with theft can be more complex than you might thing, and the laws for theft in New Jersey are nuanced and expansive. New Jersey theft laws cover everything from theft of services, credit card theft, identity theft, to shoplifting. The key that distinguishes the degrees of theft in New Jersey is the value of the property involved. As a potential defendant in a New Jersey theft case, it is important to understand the implications of these degrees and their potential penalties. General theft charges are addressed in section N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3 of the New Jersey Criminal Code, which reads:
A person is guilty of theft if he unlawfully takes, or exercises unlawful control over, movable property of another with the purpose to deprive him thereof.
A person is guilty of theft if he unlawfully transfers any interest in immovable property of another with the purpose to benefit himself or another not entitled thereto.
When the prosecutor is making a determination as to a theft charge they will look chiefly at the value of the property involved, however, they will also consider whether or not certain items were stolen, and if there were any controlled dangerous substances involved.
Second-degree theft charges are the most serious theft charges and can be brought when the value of the property is valued at or above $75,000. In addition to the monetary amount that would sustain a charge of second-degree theft, a person can be charged with second-degree theft if the property was taken by extortion, or when the property is a controlled substance in excess of one kilogram. Additionally, the New Jersey legislature has made it a second-degree offense for theft of another’s federal or state health care benefits in the amount of $75,000 or more.
Third-degree theft charges are less serious than second-degree charges and are filed when the property value is lower than a second-degree charge. The range of property values that will support a charge of third-degree theft ranges from $75,000 to as low as $500, thus making this category of theft is quite expansive. In addition, certain items of property will support a third-degree charge including a: firearm, motor vehicle, vessel, boat, airplane, horse, or domestic companion animal. As with second-degree theft, a controlled substance will also support a third-degree charge if the value of the substance is less than $75,000. In addition, certain acts of theft will allow a prosecutor to bring a third-degree charge such as if the property is taken directly from the victim, or if the person was acting as a fiduciary, or when the property was taken by threat.
A fourth-degree theft charge has a much smaller monetary range than the previous two charges and applies when the amount of property involved is between $500 and $200.
Disorderly persons offenses have the smallest range for property value and will be charged when the amount is less than $200.
What Are Potential Penalties of Theft Charges in New Jersey?
The penalties a person may face for theft will depend on the charge he or she is facing. That is why our skilled New Jersey theft attorney will aggressively negotiate to get a charge downgraded (or dropped) as soon as possible. New Jersey law indicates that penalties for theft include:
Second-degree theft Up to 10 years in prison
Third-degree theft Up to 5 years in prison
Fourth-degree theft Up to 18 months of incarceration
Disorderly persons offense Up to 6 months of incarceration
Not to mention you are looking at serious prison time, potential civil penalties, and a permanent criminal record which may render you unable to maintain or even apply for certain jobs in the future. And if you are not a U.S. citizen, you may find yourself facing deportation for even a minor theft conviction.
What Kinds of Theft and Fraud Charges Do We Defend Against?
With over 45 years of collective experience representing those in South Jersey and in Cape May County we have gained a wealth of experience in all theft offenses including:
Theft of Movable Property
Theft by Deception
Theft by Extortion
Credit Card Theft
Credit Card Fraud
Receiving Stolen Property
Do not make the mistake by thinking that a minor theft charge is something that you do not need to worry about. Even a minor charge can carry penalties and will leave you with a permanent record.
If You’re Facing Theft Charges, a Cape May Theft Lawyer Can Help
Dedicated and aggressive, our theft attorneys offer results-oriented representation from the outset. We serve clients throughout Atlantic County and Cape May County in addition to Atlantic City, Pleasantville, Egg Harbor Township, Cape May Court House, Wildwood, Absecon, Mays Landing and Somers Point. Contact our theft lawyers about your case today by calling (609) 616-4956. We are available seven days a week, 24 hours a day, including holidays.