Being arrested on a theft charge in New Jersey can result in severe consequences. Depending on the type of crime and resulting penalty, a conviction could have an impact on your freedom and livelihood for years to come.
The dedicated theft crime lawyers at Keith Oliver Criminal Law have extensive experience helping people fight these serious charges. We have helped people throughout Monmouth, Somerset, and Mercer counties get theft charges reduced or even dismissed. Our team goes above and beyond to minimize the impact of a criminal case on our clients’ lives.
If you’ve been arrested and charged with theft in New Jersey, get a top-tier defense team on your side. Our firm provides personalized attention to each client who walks through our door, and together we can build a strong defense against the charges you face. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.
How Our New Jersey Theft Crime Attorneys Can Help You
Being charged with a theft or fraud crime can be overwhelming. You are likely concerned about what a conviction could mean for your future. Don’t despair. The New Jersey theft defense attorneys at Keith Oliver Criminal Law handle cases like yours every day. We can help you understand what to expect and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.
When you trust your case to our criminal defense lawyers, we will:
- Evaluate the evidence against you and gather our own evidence to be used in your defense
- Compile witness statements
- Identify all the weaknesses in the case against you
- Create a savvy strategy to fight the charges against you
- Stand strong for you in court
- Negotiate minimum possible sentencing and alternative sentencing options, whenever necessary
Our attorneys will be your best ally. We will be there to guide you through the often-confusing criminal justice system. Discuss your case with a theft crime lawyer in New Jersey now by contacting us for a free consultation.
Types of Theft and Fraud Cases We Can Help With
Our New Jersey criminal defense law firm handles many types of theft and fraud cases, including:
Shoplifting is generally defined as the act of removing merchandise from a store without paying for the item. However, other actions committed in furtherance of the intent to steal may result in a shoplifting charge, including:
- Altering a price tag
- Hiding a smaller object in a larger object before leaving the store
- Hiding an item on your person, including your pockets or purse
- Removing or trying to remove security tags
Shoplifting charges and consequences in New Jersey depend on the value of the item(s) that were taken.
Burglary is defined as an unlawful entry into a building (including someone’s home or business) with the intent to commit a crime therein. Burglary also takes place when someone unlawfully enters and remains in a research facility or some part of it, or when they trespass onto utility company property that has been fenced, enclosed, or that displays “no trespassing” signs. Burglary is usually a second-degree offense.
Under Section 2C:15-1 of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, robbery happens when a person injures someone, threatens to injure someone, or commits another crime of the first or second degree while committing a theft. Robbery is usually a second-degree offense.
Carjacking is a violent offense that includes the actual theft of a car with an assault offense. Carjacking is considered a first-degree felony.
Grand theft can encompass different types of theft offenses. Usually, a crime is considered a “grand theft” based on the value of the property taken, the type of property taken, and whether the property was taken directly from an individual but without violence or forceful means. If a theft does not qualify as grand theft, it may be deemed petty theft.
Theft by Deception
Theft by deception is a crime involving false impressions. If you deceive someone purposely for financial gain, you may face charges of theft by deception. Penalties for this offense rest upon the value of the stolen property.
Extortion involves making purposeful and unlawful threats against an individual for monetary gain. Extortion is a second-degree crime.
Theft of Services
Theft of services happens when a person knows that a service is being provided in return for compensation and obtains these services through deception or threat. The value of the service determines the degree of the charge.
Receiving Stolen Property
You can be charged with receiving stolen property if you knowingly receive or bring into the state any moveable property that you know or have reason to believe is stolen. The value of the stolen property will dictate the level of the charge.
Healthcare fraud involves false or fraudulent representations for financial gains, usually in the form of dishonest healthcare claims. Healthcare fraud is a third-degree offense. If you commit five or more acts of fraud for at least $1,000, it is bumped up to second-degree.
Tax fraud occurs when an individual or entity purposely falsifies information on tax documents to minimize the amount of taxes they must pay. If you intentionally file a false tax return in New Jersey, you may face up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
Credit Card Fraud
A charge for credit card fraud involves using a fake, stolen, or fraudulently obtained credit card or fraudulently acquiring a credit card. Penalties for credit card fraud include three to five years in prison and fines or restitution.
Bank fraud occurs when you intentionally attempt to defraud a bank with false information to obtain money, assets, or credit. Penalties are determined depending on the case and the amount of money or assets involved.
Money laundering involves purposely disguising the actual source of money obtained through illegal activities and putting it into a legitimate business.
Money laundering is a crime under New Jersey and federal law. Penalties depend on the amount laundered:
- $500,000 and over ─ First degree with a 10- to 20-year prison sentence
- $75,000 – $499,000 ─ Second degree with 5- to 10-year prison sentence
- Less than $75,000 ─ Third degree with a 3- to 5-year prison sentence
Understanding the Degrees of Theft in New Jersey
In most states, crimes are classified as misdemeanors or felonies. A misdemeanor is generally a crime that includes less than a year of jail time, and a felony carries the potential of a longer sentence than one year. In New Jersey, however, crimes are classified as either a disorderly persons offense or as an indictable offense.
A disorderly persons offense is not considered a “crime” in New Jersey, so the offender has no right to a trial. However, they are entitled to an attorney, and a judge will still decide what consequences the person will face for their actions.
A disorderly persons offense will result when the amount involved in the theft was less than $200.
Fourth-degree charges can result if the amount was less than $500 but more than $200.
Third-degree theft charges may result when the theft involves:
- Property taken directly from a victim
- Value between $500 and $75,000
- A domestic companion animal, firearm, motor vehicle, horse, boat, or airplane
- One kilogram or less of a controlled substance worth less than $75,000
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Property taken by threat that does not qualify as extortion
- A New Jersey prescription blank
- Research-related property
- Federal or state healthcare benefits in an amount less than $75,000
Second-degree theft charges may result when the theft involves:
- Property value of $75,000 or more
- Human remains
- Controlled substances in excess of one kilogram
- Extorted property
- Federal or state healthcare benefits in an amount of $75,000 or more
Common Defenses in Theft and Fraud Cases
For theft and fraud cases, depending on the details of what happened, there may be many potential defenses. At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, we will explore whether:
- The property was valued incorrectly.
- The property was returned to the rightful owner.
- The police cannot prove ownership of the property you allegedly stole.
- You lacked the requisite intent to commit the specific crime.
- Police and prosecutors cannot prove you possessed the allegedly stolen property.
- Proper procedures were not followed by law enforcement.
There are a variety of defenses we can raise to help minimize your charges or argue that the charges should be dropped altogether. Our knowledgeable New Jersey theft crime attorneys will fight fiercely for the best possible outcome in your case.
Penalties for Theft and Fraud Convictions
The New Jersey penalties for disorderly persons offenses are:
- Petty disorderly persons offenses – Up to 30 days in jail and fines of up to $500
- Disorderly persons offenses – Up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000
The penalties for indictable offenses are as follows:
- Fourth-degree offenses – Up to 18 months in prison and fines of up to $10,000
- Third-degree offenses – Three to five years in prison and fines of up to $15,000
- Second-degree offenses – Five to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $150,000
- First-degree offenses – 10 to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $200,000