If you have been arrested for a casino crime in Atlantic City, you need straight answers from an attorney you can trust. Our attorneys are highly skilled in New Jersey casino crimes defense. We have provided a successful defense in numerous cases involving bad checks, casino markers, money laundering, financial structuring, dealer-player conspiracies, counterfeit coins and tokens, past posting, and charges of outright theft or robbery of chips. We know from long experience that persons charged with casino crimes are often the innocent victims of set-ups and scams. We are also quite familiar with defending cases in which individuals have gambled and lost millions of dollars at casinos and, after they have lost their businesses and homes, are charged with theft or bad checks when they are unable to pay the last markers held by casinos.Depending on the amount you are charged with stealing, you could be facing a lengthy prison sentence:
- Theft of under $200 in casino chips, checks or markers is a disorderly person’s offense, subject to a jail sentence of up to six months.
- Theft of $200 to $500 in casino chips, checks or markers is a disorderly person’s offense, subject to a jail sentence of up to eighteen months.
- Theft of $500 to $75,000 in casino chips, checks or markers is a third-degree offense, punishable by a prison sentence of between three and five years.
- Theft of more than $75,000 in casino chips, checks or markers is a second-degree offense, punishable by a prison sentence of between five and ten years.
Common Casino Crimes
One of the most common casino crimes is writing a bad check or marker. Casinos often extend credit to customers in the form of a casino marker. A casino marker looks like a check and is treated like a check legally. Casinos will have you sign a marker and then they will agree to hold your check for a specific period of time without cashing it. At the end of that time, the casino will call you and demand payment of the check. If the check does not clear, the casino will often go the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and charge you with writing a bad check. This is often done after a gambler has lost hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars and no longer has the money to pay.
Bad check or marker cases can be tried in court. Jurors may be sympathetic with someone who intended to pay but could not. The question is not whether the marker is paid but whether the gambler intended to pay when the marker was taken out.
Casino crimes are often appropriate for the Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI). This program will divert your case from Superior Court. Instead of jail time, you will participate in rehabilitative services, such as performing community service. If you complete the program, the casino theft charge will be dismissed after a period of time ranging from six months to a year, and you will not have a conviction on your record. This program is available on a one-time basis, generally to first-time offenders.
Other Potential Casino Crimes
Some individuals who have watched too many Hollywood movies, might consider pulling a casino’s fire alarm simply for the thrill, or because they believe that they need a moment to collect themselves due to a game that appears to be stacked against them. Unfortunately, New Jersey law criminalizes the false pulling of a fire alarm in any location. Under N.J.S.A. § 2C:33-3 (False Public Alarms), falsely pulling a fire alarm can potentially be treated as a felony offense.
Furthermore, the casino patron who might consider phoning in a fake bomb threat to “get even” after big losses or simply to see what would happen should think twice. N.J.S.A. § 2C:33-3(b) holds that it is a second-degree felony to make a false threat or report that leads to serious bodily injury. If the false report leads to another’s death, a first-degree crime can be charged. First and second-degree crimes are the two most serious gradings for criminal offenses. A second-degree crime can be punished with five to 10 years in prison. A first-degree crime can be punished with 10 to 20 years of imprisonment. Both degrees of crimes also carry significant monetary fines of up to $150,000 for a second-degree crime and up to $200,000 for a first-degree crime. Additional costs for the prosecution can also be imposed upon conviction.
Contact Our Atlantic City Defense Attorneys
Contact an experienced Atlantic City criminal defense lawyer for a free initial consultation about your case. Lawyers are available seven days a week, 24 hours a day, including holidays.