There are a few tiers of offenses for theft in New Jersey, determined by the amount of money stolen or the severity of the theft. A third-degree theft charge in New Jersey results from the theft of an amount that is between $500 and $75,000 or that falls under other specific circumstances. The penalties for a third-degree theft in New Jersey may be either imprisonment for between 3 and 5 years, a fine of up to $15,000, and/or a felony conviction on your criminal record.
If you have been charged with third-degree theft in New Jersey, you should get in touch with the New Jersey criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych as soon as possible. An experienced Atlantic City theft defense attorney may be able to help you get your charges dropped or gain entry into a diversionary program, such as a pre-trial intervention or conditional dismissal.
A Third-Degree Theft Offense in New Jersey
A theft offense in the state of New Jersey is considered to be a crime of the third degree if it meets certain criteria. In New Jersey, a theft is considered to be that of the third degree if the value of the stolen property is more than $500 but less than $75,000; the stolen property is a firearm, automobile, boat, airplane, house, or pet; the stolen property is a controlled dangerous substance that is worth less than $75,000 or amounts to less than one kilogram; the stolen property is taken as part of a breach of fiduciary duty; the property is a public instrument; the stolen property is a prescription blank; or the stolen property is anhydrous ammonia that is intended to be used to manufacture methamphetamines.
A third-degree theft offense is usually determined by the value of the stolen property. Other tiers of offenses for theft in New Jersey are determined by the value of the stolen property. A theft that involves property valued at less than $200 is a disorderly person’s offense, which can result in six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. A fourth-degree offense involves theft of property worth between $200 and $500 and is punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, and a second-degree offense involves the theft of property that has a value of more than $75,000, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
Penalties for 3rd Degree Theft in New Jersey
The penalties for a third-degree theft charge in New Jersey are the same as for all other third-degree charges. Penalties for third-degree crimes include:
- A jail sentence that ranges between 3 and 5 years
- A fine that may be as much as $15,000
- A felony conviction on your criminal record
Other transgressions that are considered to be third-degree crimes in New Jersey – and which therefore carry the same penalties as third-degree theft – include assault by auto, terroristic threats, aggravated assault, possession of heroin and cocaine, burglary, credit card fraud, and unlawful possession of a rifle or shotgun, among other things.
When facing charges of third-degree theft in New Jersey, it is recommended that you seek the assistance of South Jersey theft attorney John J. Zarych. An experienced defense attorney can help you understand the charges filed against you, craft an effective defense for your case, and make sure that your rights are protected throughout the process.
To convict you for third-degree theft in New Jersey, the prosecution must prove that you did not own the property that you allegedly stole and that you took the property without asking for permission from the owner. An attorney can help you find and present evidence that proves that you did not steal the property.
In certain cases, it may not be possible to prove that you did not steal the property. In situations such as these, an attorney may be able to help you with a “diversion,” meaning either a pre-trial intervention or conditional dismissal. A pre-trial intervention may be an option for first-time offenders; if you successfully complete the program, you may be able to avoid a criminal conviction. A conditional dismissal is the same thing as a pre-trial intervention, except it is only available to offenders who have been charged with disorderly persons offenses and that have not previously participated in a pre-trial intervention or conditional dismissal program.
Is N.J.S.A. § 2C:20-3(a) a Felony?
New Jersey statute 2C:20-3(a) defines movable theft as theft that unlawfully takes or exercises unlawful control over the property of another person or deprives them of their property. The theft of movable property is considered a felony. To charge someone with theft of moveable property, the property must:
- be moveable
- belong to a third party
- been taken, disposed of, or controlled by the defendant
- be subject to an unlawful “taking”
- be taken by the defendant without the intent to return it
A skilled NJ defense attorney can help you better understand this statute and how it may relate to your case.
New Jersey Theft Defense Attorneys Available to Help with Criminal Cases
The Law Offices of John J. Zarych offer free and confidential consultation that can help clients understand the charges, penalties, and possible defenses available following a charge of third-degree theft. Get in touch with a qualified and experienced lawyer to learn more about how you can mount a strong defense. Call our Atlantic City criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych today at (609) 616-4956.