Whether it has been alleged that you ran out of a cab fee, failed to pay your contractor or failed to pay any bill for that matter, you may be charged with theft of services. If that is to occur in Mercer County, the criminal defense attorneys at Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. Theft of service charges will be governed by NJSA 2C:20-8 in New Jersey. As you will see below, just like every other theft related crime in New Jersey, the degree of the charge will depend solely on the dollar amount of the alleged loss. So a Defendant charged with theft of services could be facing either a second, third or fourth degree felony or a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor). These can be rather complicated charges as often times at least some of the payment in question is made and the dispute is over whether or not the final product was done satisfaction.
If you have been arrested and charged with theft of services, receiving stolen property, theft by deception, theft of movable property, shoplifting or burglary in Mercer County, we can help. Our attorneys will aggressively challenge the evidence presented against you in order to achieve a favorable outcome. We are well aware of what a theft of service conviction can do to your future. If you have been charged with this offense or any other offense for that matter in Mercer County, in towns like Hamilton, Ewing, Lawrence, East Windsor, Robbinsville, West Windsor, Hopewell and Trenton let Keith Oliver Criminal Law help. If you would like to discuss the facts of your case with one of our Mercer County criminal defense lawyers then please contact us at (609)789-0779. We can go the specifics and we will give you our honest feedback on how we think we can be of assistance. Now here is some more information on theft of services charges in New Jersey, including what the state needs to prove in order to obtain a conviction.
Theft of Service Lawyers in Hamilton NJ
This offense in essence encompass a situation in which a Defendant purposely obtains some form of a service with the intent of never compensating the provider for the service. As stated above, theft of service is governed by NJSA 2C:20-8a, which states in pertinent part that:
A person is guilty of theft if he purposely obtains services which he knows are available only for compensation, by deception or threat, or by false token, slug, or other means, including but not limited to mechanical or electronic devices or through fraudulent statements, to avoid payment for the service.
In order to be convicted of this offense, the State must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- That the Defendant obtained a service;
- That the Defendant was aware that the services were available only for compensation;
- That the Defendant obtained the services by deceiving the provider that compensation would be made; &
- That the Defendant did so with the underlying purpose to avoid making compensation.
What will Qualify as a “Service” under NJSA 2C:20-8a?
Some of the most common “services” that fall under this statute include but are not limited to:
- Professional Service,
- Public Service,
- Accommodation in hotels, restaurants etc.
- Use of vehicles or any other movable property.
How to Defend Theft of Services Charges in NJ?
By far one of the most common fact scenarios for a theft of services charge in New Jersey will revolve around a contractor and homeowner dispute. So one of the key angles to look to attack here is whether the contract was actually fully performed? Was their any actual deception on behalf of the Defendant? Does this charge belong in civil court not criminal court? These are just a few of the things to look for. However, do to the seriousness of the charges, it is recommend that you consult with an experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer about your options.
Can I go to Jail for Theft of Service in NJ?
Whether a Defendant is charged with a felony or a misdemeanor level theft of services charge in New Jersey will depend on the dollar amount of the alleged loss. Here is a breakdown of the degrees and the potential penalties if convicted.
- A Defendant will be charged with a disorderly persons offense if the loss is less than $200. If convicted, a Defendant will be facing up to six months in the Mercer County Jail, a fine up to $1,000, probation, community service, a criminal record and restitution of applicable.
- If the loss is greater than $200 but less than $500 the Defendant will be charged with a fourth degree felony offense. Anyone charged with a fourth degree felony will be facing up to eighteen months in a state prison, a fine up to $10,000, probation, community service, a felony criminal record and restitution if applicable.
- If the loss is greater than $500 but less than $75,000 the Defendant will be facing third degree felony charges. A Defendant facing a third degree felony offense will be facing anywhere from three to five years in a state prison, a fine up to $15,000, probation, community service, a felony criminal record and restitution if applicable.
- If the loss is greater than $75,000 the Defendant will be charged with a crime of the second degree. A crime of the second degree is punishable by anywhere from five to ten years in a state prison, a fine ranging up to $150,000, a felony criminal record, community service and restitution if applicable.
Depending on the degree and a Defendant’s prior criminal history, they may be eligible for one of New Jersey’s diversionary programs. Those programs include the Pretrial Intervention Program, the Conditional Dismissal Program and Drug Court. For more information on these programs please contact our office or click the corresponding links.
Theft of Service Attorneys in Princeton NJ
The Mercer County criminal defense attorneys at Keith Oliver Criminal Law have been defending clients accused of shoplifting, robbery, theft of services, theft by deception and burglary in courts throughout New Jersey for years. We are aware that no two clients let alone no two cases are the same. So we will work hand and hand with each of our clients to formulate a game plan that works best for their needs, whether that be a trial, motion practice or negotiating a favorable plea. We serve all of Mercer County including towns like Princeton, Lawrence, Trenton, Hightstown, Ewing, West Windsor, Robbinsville and Hopewell. To speak with one of our attorneys today please contact us at (609) 789-0779.