Even if it seems like a minor matter, theft charges in New Jersey can carry a hefty penalty. Even something simple like shoplifting an item can cost you and give you a criminal record. When you’re facing such matters in Jersey City, you’re going to need an experienced criminal defense attorney who will help you through the process.
The Penalties for Theft in New Jersey
If you are found guilty of theft in New Jersey, your punishment depends on the value of what was stolen. The greater the value, the harsher the penalty.
There are four degrees of the crime that was committed:
Disorder persons offense: If you are accused of stealing an item with a value less than $200, you will be charged with this offense. The penalty is up to six months in jail.
4th degree crime: If you are accused of stealing an item with a value of more than $200 but less than $500, you will be charged with a 4th degree crime. The punishment is up to 18 months in jail.
3rd degree crime: You will be charged with this offense if you are accused with any of the following:
- stealing something of value that is more than $500 but less than $75,000;
- the item is either a gun, pet, car, boat, or plane;
- the item is a controlled or dangers substance less than one kilogram;
- the item was removed from a person;
- it was taken by threat
The penalty for a third degree crime is up to five years in prison.
2nd degree crime: The most serious of theft offenses, you will be charged with this offense if you are accused of any of the following:
- the value of the item is more than $75,000;
- the property was taken by extortion;
- the item contains a dangerous or controlled substance greater than 1 kilogram
The penalty is up to 10 years in prison.
Legal Defenses for Theft
The courts don’t find many excuses for theft to be acceptable. However, if you were unaware the property you received belonged to someone else or if you acted under the law of honest claim of right to the property, it is possible for your charges to be dropped.
In addition, if you purchased a stolen item which you didn’t know was stolen, it is possible to beat a theft charge. But you’re going to need an experienced lawyer to help you with your case.
If you are accused of theft in Jersey City, Newark, Union City, or anywhere in New Jersey, don’t wait another minute. Contact criminal defense lawyer Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation.