Theft by Unlawful Taking Defense Lawyer in Camden County NJ
Criminal Defense Firm Serving Cherry Hill and New Jersey
Like fingerprints, no two theft crimes are exactly alike. In fact, there are a host of specific offenses that fall within the realm of theft, which range from robbery to shoplifting. When you are accused of a theft crime, there are several aspects of your case that will determine the specific charges against you, and the penalties to which you are exposed if convicted. For instance, the State will consider the nature of the offense: are you accused of theft by deception or extortion? They will also consider the specific object of the theft: was it money, retail merchandise, a car, a person’s identity, a New Jersey prescription blank, some form of services, or another form of property? Further, the State delineates among various forms of property, including intellectual, immovable, or movable property. Moreover, the estimated monetary value of the allegedly stolen property determines the degree of the charges in many theft cases, meaning the higher the value of the object of the theft, the more severe the punishment if you are found guilty.
William Fay is a highly experienced criminal defense attorney who has been honing his skills in criminal law for years, serving on both sides of the legal system. Before starting his criminal practice, Mr. Fay was a member of the NJ Attorney General’s Office as a Deputy Attorney General. With his highly effective defense strategies and unwavering dedication to his clients, Mr. Fay has achieved superior outcomes for clients throughout New Jersey. When Mr. Fay takes your case, you have can rest assured that an experienced, knowledgeable, and aggressive legal advocate will fight for you every step of the way. Don’t leave your future to chance. Contact our firm today at 609-832-3202 to discuss your case and receive a cost-free initial consultation.
Here is a review from one client whose criminal case we recently handled:
Mr. Fay handled a criminal matter for me recently. The case had varying levels of complexity, yet Mr. Fay demonstrated a resounding ability to not only successfully advocate on my behalf but also obtain a dismissal of my charges. I have had experience with other attorneys in the past and I can say with certainty that my experience with Mr. Fay was one of professionalism and skill that is seriously lacking among other attorneys. I highly recommend him to any other individual looking for assistance in their criminal case. – ★★★★★ Daniel
Theft Lawyer in Winslow NJ
When someone thinks of “theft,” they are probably thinking of a criminal charge for theft of movable property. As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3(a), a person is guilty of theft of movable property if they unlawfully take or exercise control over movable property that belongs to another person. What exactly is “movable property,” and how does it differ from “immovable property”? Movable property means exactly what it sounds like: property that can be physically moved and that has a value of some kind. Examples of movable property include cash, credit cards, physical objects, documents, etc. Basically, if an item or object is capable of being transported or moved from location to location, it probably constitutes “movable property” for the purposes of New Jersey’s theft laws. By contrast, “immovable property” is typically limited to rights of ownership of things like land, buildings, leases, etc.
New Jersey’s general theft statute, found in section N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3a, addresses theft of both movable and immovable property. With regard to theft crimes, the statute explains the following:
a. Movable property. A person is guilty of theft if he unlawfully takes, or exercises unlawful control over, movable property of another with purpose to deprive him thereof.
b. Immovable property. A person is guilty of theft if he unlawfully transfers any interest in immovable property of another with purpose to benefit himself or another not entitled thereto.
Consequences of a Theft Conviction in New Jersey
The degree of the charges for a general theft crime are contingent upon a number of factors, including the nature of the stolen property and the estimated monetary loss incurred as a result of the theft. Specifically, theft is classified as a second degree crime if the amount involved is $75,000 or more, or the property stolen is a controlled dangerous substance and the quantity is in excess of one kilogram. Second degree theft crimes are punishable by a New Jersey State Prison term ranging from 5 to 10 years.
Theft is classified as a third degree crime, punishable by New Jersey State Prison term ranging from 3 to 5 years, if:
- The amount involved exceeds $500 but is less than $75,000;
- The stolen property is a firearm, motor vehicle, vessel, boat, horse, domestic companion animal, or airplane;
- The property stolen is a controlled dangerous substance and the amount involved is less than $75,000 or is undetermined and the quantity is one kilogram or less;
- The property stolen is a New Jersey Prescription Blank.
Theft is considered a fourth degree crime if the amount involved is at least $200 by does not exceed $500. Fourth degree crimes are punishable by a New Jersey State Prison term of up to 18 months. In all other cases, theft is classified as a disorderly persons offense. Disorderly persons theft crimes, often referred to as “petty theft,” are adjudicated in Municipal Court and may result in a sentence to serve up to 6 months in the county jail.
It is important to note that theft crimes may also entail a number of collateral consequences, including negative immigration implications, restitution payments to the victim(s), and community service.
Defenses and Options for N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3 Charges
There are many different defenses and options for theft of movable or immovable property charges. Some cases may be successfully dismissed by proving that you had permission to take or exercise control over the property involved. Others can be shown to lack intent, which is a critical element of the offense. In other words, if the act was not performed with purpose to deprive the rightful owner of their property, then the state may be unable to sufficiently prove the theft. In other situations, a theft charge can be downgraded from an indictable crime to a disorderly persons offense to minimize your exposure to penalties. For instance, a third degree or fourth degree crime may be reduced from a felony level offense to a disorderly persons offense handled in municipal court and not punishable by state prison time.
Furthermore, a first-time offender charged with theft may be eligible for the conditional dismissal or Pre-Trial Intervention programs. Conditional dismissal applies to municipal court cases and PTI applies to superior court matters. Both diversionary options allow for the charges to be dismissed if the defendant complies with program conditions during a limited term. If you avoid being arrested and otherwise complete the requirements of the program, it allows you to avoid a conviction on your record and the punishments that may otherwise be implemented in your case. Find out your specific options by discussing your case with our experienced theft defense lawyers.
Call a Pennsauken NJ Theft Attorney for a Free Consultation
If you or someone you love has been charged with a theft crime in Camden County or elsewhere in South Jersey, start developing your defense strategy with the help of an experienced attorney at our criminal defense law firm today. Contact 609-832-3202 for additional information and a cost-free consultation.