Haddonfield Theft Crimes Attorney
Theft is a serious criminal offense under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3 in the State of New Jersey, and you can suffer serious penalties if you do not assert a strong legal defense to your charge. In addition, a theft charge or conviction on your criminal record can make you appear dishonest and will likely follow you throughout your life.
Haddonfield, New Jersey, theft defense attorney Matthew V. Portella has many years of experience successfully defending individuals against their theft charges. Following an initial consultation, Attorney Portella may be able to represent you in the courtroom and assert a defense on your behalf that could result in a dismissal of your charge. While not all theft charges are subject to dismissal, Attorney Portella could also represent you during plea negotiations with a prosecutor and may be able to obtain a charge reduction on your behalf.
Types of Theft Charges
Theft charges in New Jersey come in all shapes and sizes. While some theft charges involve stealing physical merchandise, others involve stealing intangible property, such as intellectual property or identity theft. Common theft charges include the following:
- Property theft, including motor vehicle theft
- Theft by deception
- Services theft
- Fraud (including Medicare fraud or unemployment fraud)
- Credit card theft
- Identity theft
- Cashing bad checks
All of these theft crimes involve some level of specific intent on the part of the accused. In other words, the accused must have had knowledge of what he or she was doing and must have specifically intended to commit the theft crime. If the accused did not so intend, then he or she might be able to raise lack of intent as a defense to the charge.
To convict you of theft, the prosecutor must satisfy a certain burden of proof. In New Jersey criminal cases, the burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If a successful legal defense negates one or more legal elements of the theft charge, then the accused could be acquitted, and the criminal case might be subject to a dismissal.
Haddonfield, New Jersey theft lawyer Attorney Matthew V. Portella can discuss your version of the facts with you and determine whether the prosecutor in your case might have difficulty satisfying his or her legal burden.
Varying Degrees of Theft in New Jersey
New Jersey criminalizes varying degrees of theft based on the circumstances that surround the alleged crime. The penalties for a theft conviction can vary, essentially depending upon the value of goods or property that the accused allegedly misappropriated.
A person may be charged with a second-degree theft crime if he or she stole items which have a monetary value of $75,000 or greater. The accused could also be charged with second-degree theft if he or she takes the subject property through extortion, the accused steals a controlled substance in an amount that exceeds one kilogram, or if the stolen property is human remains. The penalty for a second-degree theft conviction is a maximum of ten years of incarceration.
A person could be charged with a crime of theft in the third degree if the value of the stolen property is more than $500 up to $75,000. Third-degree theft crimes also include the following:
- Cases in which the stolen piece of property is a firearm, horse, boat, motor vehicle, airplane, or domestic companion animal
- The stolen item is taken from the alleged victim’s person
- The subject property is a controlled substance, and the amount of the substance involved is $75,000 (or the amount is undetermined), and the substance quantity is one kilogram or fewer
- The stolen property is some other individual’s benefits available to him or her under state or federal law—and which the Department of Human Services has budgeted for the alleged victim’s health care. The amount involved must be less than $75,000.
- The stolen property is either a defaced access device or an access device that has not been defaced
A conviction for a third-degree theft charge in New Jersey can result in a maximum five-year prison sentence and a $15,000 fine.
Finally, the accused could be charged with a fourth-degree theft offense if the allegedly stolen property has a monetary value of more than $200 and a maximum of $500. A common example of a fourth-degree theft charge is credit card theft. This can occur when the accused misappropriates the alleged victim’s credit card (or credit card information) and uses the credit card to make purchases in the alleged victim’s name. a fourth-degree conviction can mean up to 18 months in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
If you are facing one of these theft charges, Haddonfield, New Jersey theft lawyer attorney Matthew V. Portella may be able to negotiate a charge reduction on your behalf or develop a good legal defense in your case.
Disorderly Persons Charge
A disorderly persons charge is a type of petty theft charge in New Jersey. A person can sustain a disorderly person’s charge—a misdemeanor charge—if the value of the subject property is below $200. A conviction for a disorderly persons charge can result in a maximum six-month prison sentence.
Speak With a Haddonfield Theft Crimes Attorney Today
As you can see, there are varying types and degrees of theft charges that the State of New Jersey recognizes. If you are currently facing a theft charge, you should reach out for skilled legal representation as soon as you possibly can. You have nothing to lose by consulting with an experienced criminal defense lawyer and discussing your case and possible defenses.
Attorney Matthew V. Portella can first meet with you to discuss your case as well as your version of the facts. Several legal defenses may be applicable to your charge, including lack of specific intent to commit a crime of theft. Attorney Portella can determine potential defenses and legal options and recommend a course of action for your criminal case.
To schedule a free consultation or case evaluation with a Haddonfield theft crimes attorney, please contact us online or call us at (856) 310-9800.