Topic: Criminal Law
Under New Jersey criminal statute § 2C:20-3, theft is defined as the “unlawful taking” or “exercising of control” over another person’s property. The type of offense and resulting penalty is often linked to the value of the stolen property. Theft crimes typically result in monetary fines and imprisonment. Moreover, many times the court will order an offender to pay restitution to the victim(s) of the theft.
Types of Theft Crimes and Penalties
Following is a list of the different types of theft in New Jersey, along with the penalties that might accompany a conviction with each type of offense.
Disorderly Persons Theft Offense
Under N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:20-2(b)(4), § 2C:20-3, theft can be categorized as a disorderly persons offense when the value of the stolen property is less than $200. This is commonly referred to as petty theft.
A person convicted of a disorderly persons theft offense can be fined up to $1,000 or double the monetary loss of the victim, whichever amount is greater. The prison term for a DP theft offense cannot exceed six months under New Jersey statute § 2C:43-3, § 2C:43-8.
Fourth Degree Theft Crime
When the value of the stolen goods totals at least $200 but does not exceed $500, it is classified as a fourth degree theft crime under N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:20-2(b)(3), § 2C:20-3.
An offender of a fourth degree theft crime can be penalized with a fine not to surpass $10,000 or double the stolen property value, whichever is higher. The offender can face a prison term up to 18 months § 2C:43-3, § 2C:43-6.
Third Degree Theft Crime
The factors that determine if a theft qualifies as a third degree crime New Jersey include:
- The worth of the stolen property or services is valued between $500 and less than $75,000.
- The stolen property is a firearm, motor vehicle, vessel, boat, airplane, horse, or domestic companion animal. (*There are additional penalties associated with stealing a car including suspension of the offender’s driver license and increasing fines for repeat offenses.)
- The property is a controlled dangerous substance weighing less than one kilogram and worth less than $75,000.
- The property is taken from the victim, by a person acting as a fiduciary, or by threat.
- The stolen property is a public instrument, writing, or record or a New Jersey blank prescription.
- The property is an access device.
Second Degree Theft Crime
Under N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:20-2(b)(1), § 2C:20-3, theft becomes a second degree crime if one of the following is true:
- the value of the stolen property is worth a minimum of $75,000
- the property is taken by force
- the stolen property is a controlled substance weighing more than one kilogram
- the property is human remains
Penalties for second degree theft crimes include fines doubling the amount of the property value lost to the victim, or a fine up to $150,000, whichever amount is greater. An offender can also face prison time from five to ten years for a second degree theft crime (§ 2C:43-3, § 2C:43-6.)
Criminal Attorney Michele Finizio Successfully Defends Persons Charged with Theft Offenses
Cherry Hill criminal defense attorney Michele Finizio is ready to handle every detail of your theft case and fight for your best interests. Ms. Finizio understands the specific types of theft offenses and will work with you to ensure you are properly defended. If you have been charged with a New Jersey theft crime, call the criminal lawyers in Cherry Hill at the Law Offices of Michele Finizio located in Moorestown, NJ today at 609-230-0374 or contact us online.
Under New Jersey criminal statute § 2C:20-3, theft is defined as the “unlawful taking” or “exercising of control” over another person’s property. The type of offense and resulting penalty is often linked to the value of the stolen property. Theft crimes typically result in monetary fines and imprisonment.