Camden County NJ Theft Crime Lawyer
Criminal Defense Attorney Representing Clients Across South Jersey
Theft and fraud is a broad classification of offenses in New Jersey, encompassing crimes ranging from shoplifting to prescription fraud. These crimes are highly variable in terms of the degree of the charges and the potential penalties associated with a conviction. However, a conviction for any theft or fraud crime may leave you exposed to consequences including heavy fines, restitution payments, community service, and jail time. In addition, all of these offenses fall within the realm of “crimes of moral turpitude.” This is significant because a conviction may also negatively impact your immigration status, and even result in deportation, if you are not currently a United States citizen. When faced with such overwhelming repercussions, it is critical to protect yourself and your innocence.
Criminal defense attorney William Fay has dedicated his legal career to the practice of criminal justice in New Jersey. He began defending clients charged with criminal offenses including theft by deception, identity theft, extortion, and passing bad checks in Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and South Jersey after serving as a Deputy Attorney General for the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office. Due to his extensive knowledge and experience, Mr. Fay has achieved countless positive outcomes on behalf of clients. Whether your best outcome is a dismissal at trial, enrollment in a diversionary program such as the Conditional Dismissal Program, probation, or a negotiated plea to a lesser sentence, Mr. Fay will work tirelessly to secure the most favorable result. To discuss your case with Mr. Fay and find the answers to your questions, contact his offices today at 609-832-3202 for a cost-free consultation.
Theft and Fraud Charges Attorney in Voorhees NJ
The common thread running through all theft crimes is to intentionally deprive someone of their property, whether that property is a car, purse, clothing, intellectual property, computer data, or someone’s identity. Our experienced lawyers aggressively defends clients charged with a wide variety of theft and fraud offenses, including:
- Theft by deception
- Theft by extortion
- Theft of services
- Receiving Stolen Property
- Identity theft
- Credit card theft
- Credit card fraud
- Check fraud
- Obtaining CDS by Fraud (prescription fraud)
- Official misconduct
Is Theft a Felony or Misdemeanor in New Jersey?
Theft charges exist on a spectrum, and many are graded based on the monetary benefit derived in the course of committing the offense. Specifically:
- Theft of less than $200 are typically disorderly persons offenses. This is not a felony, but is a criminal misdemeanor nonetheless. The punishments can include jail for up to 6 months and a fine of up to $1,000.
- Theft of between $200 and $500 worth of property is a fourth degree crime, as is forgery in most cases. This is a felony offense, otherwise known as an indictable crime. Penalties for this level of offense can include up to 18 months in state prison and a fine of up $10,000.
- Theft of between $500 and $75,000 worth of property is graded as a third degree indictable crime. This felony offense also applies to burglary, auto theft, and making fraudulent credit cards. The consequences of a conviction can include fines up to $15,000 plus a prison sentence of 3 to 5 years.
- Theft of property worth over $75,000 becomes a second degree crime, a serious felony with a presumption of incarceration for anyone, even those with no criminal past. The potential repercussions of being found guilty can involve up to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $150,000.
- First degree theft charges typically involve serious threat of injury along with a theft crime. These include things like armed robbery and carjacking. Depending on the specific crime charged, you may face anywhere from 10 to 30 years in prison. Some of these charges also require you to serve 85 percent of the entire sentence before coming up for parole.
It is important to note that some offenses entail mandatory community service and other penalties. Those convicted may also be required to pay restitution to the victim(s) or the merchant from whom property was stolen. Theft and fraud crimes are also moral turpitude offenses, meaning the collateral impacts can include deportation or damaging effects with immigration.
Proving Theft and Defending Against Theft Charges in New Jersey
For a theft charge to stick, the prosecutor must prove that someone intended to take someone else’s belongings without intending to return it. Circumstantial evidence can be used to prove intent. So, if someone sits down at a restaurant and finds another person’s wallet on the seat, they may be charged with theft if they take the wallet home and make no efforts to return the wallet to its rightful owner. However, if they take the wallet home and try to find the owner with no success, the intent to permanently deprive someone of their wallet is missing and therefore no theft charge is going to be successful. Similarly, with receiving stolen goods, the knowledge that the goods received are stolen may be proven by obvious signs that the person receiving the goods should have known that the items were stolen, say, by the deep discount on the items or the method of receiving the items, such as clothing with the tags still on them.
Theft, though common, is not always clear cut. The prosecutor must prove intent with facts that persuade a jury in Superior Court or a judge in Municipal Court beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant knowingly took or kept what is not theirs from the start or after mistakenly coming upon someone else’s belongings. There is room for an experienced criminal defense attorney to cast doubt in a jury’s mind if the intent is not certain from the given facts. Depending on the case, the evidence may be thin and entirely insufficient when your lawyer starts to poke holes in the prosecution’s version of the story. For this reason, your paramount concern should be to find knowledgeable and experienced legal representation before ever consenting to a plea agreement or another outcome.
Mr. Fay will thoroughly investigate your case to identify evidence that supports your innocence. And there are other ways to get charges downgraded or dismissed, including diversionary programs like Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) in Superior Court and Conditional Dismissal in Municipal Courts. Talk to a criminal defense attorney at our firm who regularly defends clients charged with theft crimes in Camden County if you have been charged with theft. You may not know your options and possible defenses until you do.
Contact a Pennsauken NJ Theft and Fraud Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you or someone you love has been charged with a theft or fraud offense in Camden County or elsewhere in South Jersey, it is highly advisable to consult with an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Contact our firm at 609-832-3202 for additional information and a cost-free consultation about your specific theft charge. We frequently appear in courts throughout Camden County, including in Lindenwold, Berlin, Winslow, Pennsauken, Cherry Hill, and the city of Camden. To discuss your charges and how we may be of assistance, contact us 24/7.