Theft is treated as a serious offense in New Jersey. There are multiple degrees of theft that individuals may be charged with. The degree of theft that applies to a particular case is determined by the value of the stolen property at issue.
Fourth degree theft refers to the unlawful taking of property valued between $200 and $500. Offenders may face expensive fines and potential imprisonment. The severity of consequences for 4th degree theft can depend on factors such as defendants’ prior criminal histories and the circumstances surrounding their arrests.
If you are accused of fourth degree theft, get help from our experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych by dialing (609) 616-4956.
What Constitutes 4th Degree Theft in New Jersey?
The grading of theft offenses in New Jersey is established by N.J.S.A. § 2C:20-2. Under this statute, theft offenses are categorized based on the value of the stolen property. A person can be charged with fourth-degree theft when the value of the property or services stolen is between $200 and $500. This offense is considered a less serious crime compared to higher-degree theft offenses but still carries significant legal consequences.
Individuals facing fourth-degree charges for theft in New Jersey may face penalties such as fines and potential imprisonment. The severity of these consequences can vary depending on factors such as the specific circumstances of the theft, any prior criminal record, and the effectiveness of the legal defense presented. Accordingly, it is crucial for individuals facing such charges to seek assistance from experienced legal representation.
Our New Jersey criminal defense attorneys can provide thorough guidance and support when navigating the complexities of New Jersey’s theft laws. Further, we will help construct an effective defense strategy to protect your rights and mitigate potential consequences.
Examples of Different Types of 4th Degree Theft You Can Be Charged with in New Jersey
There are multiple types of 4th degree theft that can be committed in New Jersey. For instance, you may be charged with any of the following:
Theft by Unlawful Taking or Disposition
In New Jersey, theft by unlawful taking or disposition is governed by N.J.S.A. § 2C:20-3. This offense occurs when an individual wrongfully takes or exercises control over movable property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of it. Furthermore, this type of theft occurs when an individual wrongfully transfers any interest in someone else’s immovable property with the intent to benefit themselves or another party not entitled to it.
Simply put, this offense refers to the unauthorized possession of another person’s belongings.
Theft by Deception
Another distinct type of theft in New Jersey is theft by deception. This offense, set forth by N.J.S.A. § 2C:20-4, involves intentionally misleading or deceiving someone to gain control over their property. Whether through false pretenses, fraudulent acts, or deceptive practices, individuals may be charged with theft by deception for unlawfully acquiring possessions or valuables.
Theft by Extortion
Additionally, theft by extortion is established by N.J.S.A. § 2C:20-5. This charge is applied when an individual obtains property from another through coercion, threats, or intimidation. Extortion involves compelling someone to surrender their belongings under the threat of harm, revealing damaging information, or engaging in other coercive tactics.
Theft of Property Lost, Mislaid, or Delivered by Mistake
Lastly, New Jersey law also addresses theft involving property that has been lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake under N.J.S.A. § 2C:20-6. If an individual comes into possession of such property and fails to take reasonable measures to return it to the rightful owner, they may face theft charges. This underscores the legal obligation to act responsibly when encountering items that don’t rightfully belong to them.
Sentencing Factors for 4th Degree Theft Charges in New Jersey
As previously discussed, the penalties for 4th degree theft can involve potential fines and jail time. These penalties can vary significantly from case to case. That is because there are multiple factors that can influence penalties for 4th degree theft charges in New Jersey.
First, a defendant’s prior criminal history can be an influential factor in fourth-degree theft charges. A person with a history of theft offenses or other criminal activities may face more severe consequences compared to someone without a prior record. Repeat offenses can exacerbate the penalties imposed by the legal system.
Circumstances of the Theft
The specific circumstances surrounding the theft can also play a crucial role in determining the severity of the charges. Factors such as the method used, any use of force or coercion, and the presence of aggravating elements can impact the degree of the theft offense. The more egregious the circumstances, the more likely it is that the charges will be elevated.
Intent and Knowledge
Establishing the defendant’s intent and knowledge is essential in theft cases. Prosecutors will examine whether there was a purposeful intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property. Demonstrating that the accused had knowledge of their actions and intended to benefit from the stolen property can significantly influence the charges.
The choice of legal representation can be a critical factor. Having our legal professionals by your side can make a substantial difference in the outcome of fourth-degree theft charges. Out team can build a defense, challenge evidence, and advocate for a more favorable resolution.
Property Ownership Dispute
Disputes over property ownership can complicate fourth-degree theft charges. If there is a legitimate disagreement or confusion regarding ownership rights, it can impact the prosecution’s ability to prove the defendant’s guilt. This factor emphasizes the importance of clarifying ownership disputes as part of a legal defense.
Cooperation with Law Enforcement
Lastly, the level of cooperation with law enforcement can also influence fourth-degree theft charges. Being cooperative during the investigation and showing remorse may be considered by the court. On the other hand, uncooperative behavior or attempts to obstruct the legal process could have negative consequences on the case.
Contact Our Law Firm for Help with Your 4th Degree Theft Case in New Jersey
Seek help from our Hamilton, NJ criminal defense attorneys by calling the Law Offices of John J. Zarych today at (609) 616-4956.