Types of Theft Charges

In New Jersey, the term “theft” can encompass many different specific crimes, from burglary and robbery to identity theft and fraud. If you are facing charges for stealing in New Jersey, the type of charge will determine which penalties a conviction could carry. The following are some common types of theft charges our criminal defense attorneys handle at Keith Oliver Criminal Law.

Petty Theft vs. Grand Theft

Theft involves taking someone else’s property without permission. The difference between petty and grand theft is based on the value and type of property taken and various other factors. Petty theft is considered a disorderly persons offense, while grand theft is a more serious charge.

Theft by Deception or Extortion

Theft by deception and theft by extortion are similar but distinct crimes in New Jersey. Theft by deception occurs when a person takes someone’s property by lying, misleading them, or another form of deception. Theft by extortion is taking someone’s property using extortion, such as force or coercion.

Theft of Services

In New Jersey, a person commits theft of services when they use deception or threats to purposely and knowingly obtain services without paying. For example, someone who uses another person’s cable TV or satellite signal without the owner’s permission or paying for it could be charged with theft of services.

Computer Fraud

New Jersey’s criminal computer activity statute covers a range of offenses. The law prohibits people from unlawfully accessing databases or other computer systems without authorization, altering data without permission, or accessing databases or computer systems to commit fraud or steal someone’s personal information.


Robbery is a second-degree crime using physical force or the threat of force when committing theft. It becomes a first-degree crime if the perpetrator tries to kill anyone, causes serious bodily injury, or is armed with a deadly weapon.


Fraud is the intentional use of deception or dishonest means to take another person’s property, money, or legal right. According to the state Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor, New Jersey’s Fraud Prevention Act is intended to mitigate healthcare and insurance fraud throughout the state.


A person commits the crime of shoplifting if they steal property from a business or change the price tag on an item to avoid paying full price. Depending on the value of the stolen items, shoplifting can be a misdemeanor or felony — called disorderly persons and indictable offenses in New Jersey.

Receiving Stolen Property

New Jersey law states it is illegal for a person to receive, possess, control, or title another person’s property knowing it is stolen or likely stolen.

Writing Bad Checks

If someone writes a check or makes an electronic funds transfer knowing that the check or fund transfer will not be paid, they could be charged as a disorderly persons or indictable offense.

Auto Theft

carjacking occurs when the perpetrator uses force or threatens to use force against the driver or an occupant of the motor vehicle to steal it. Under New Jersey law, a person convicted of theft of an automobile could face fines and revocation of driving privileges.

Identity Theft

New Jersey law defines impersonation and identity theft as using any means, including the internet, to impersonate another person or pretend to be a representative of a person or organization to injure or defraud someone.

Contact a New Jersey Theft Defense Lawyer Today

Many of these types of theft charges come with serious consequences. If you are facing charges of theft, you need an experienced attorney to defend your rights and freedom. Contact the New Jersey theft defense lawyers at Keith Oliver Criminal Law today for a free consultation.

Author: Keith G. Oliver

Founding partner Keith G. Oliver has a passion for helping people who are caught up in the criminal justice system. He believes that everyone has a right to be presumed innocent, and that one mistake shouldn’t define a person forever. This passion drives Mr. Oliver to tirelessly fight for his clients and pursue the best possible outcome in every case.