If you are charged with theft, what started as an ordinary day can quickly spiral up into a nightmare. That is primarily because of the severity of the consequences of a conviction. New Jersey has different kinds of theft charges whose penalties vary in degree.
It is imperative to find an expert New Jersey crime lawyer if you are committed to avoiding the worst possible outcome. Getting a dismissal requires a legal expert that can fight and defend you aggressively.
Being a crime in the second degree, theft by extortion is punishable with up to 10 years in jail. The offense is often charged alongside coercion, which can be used to control or manipulate the victim’s actions. The intention in extortion is usually to gain services, goods, property.
You might not be convicted for extortion if you obtained something honestly as indemnification or restitution for harm done. The prosecution is also likely to drop the charges if something is taken as lawful compensation for services or property.
Penalties for possessing altered or stolen goods in New Jersey vary depending on the value of those goods. The categories include:
The fines can be as low as $1,000 or as high as $150,000, and the jail terms range from six months to 10 years. You might also pay restitution to the victims. A New Jersey theft attorney can guide you on developing defenses to avoid conviction.
The penalties for stealing a motor vehicle depend on the perpetrator’s capacity. First, sentencing might be based on whether it is a first, second, or third-time offense.
If it is the first time you are charged for auto theft, you risk:
The charges could be higher if you already have one auto theft conviction in your record. Penalties might include:
Third-time offenders are usually punished more harshly than people convicted for the first and second time in New Jersey. You might have to deal with:
The penalties might be severe if you use someone 17 years or below to commit auto theft. Leaders of auto theft trafficking networks also risk being prosecuted with a crime of second degree. And the fines could be five times the retail value of the car or $250,000, whichever is higher.
If you are found taking something from a store, the offense might be charged as disorderly person shoplifting, fourth-degree, third-degree, or second-degree shoplifting. It all depends on the value of the goods taken from the store.
Shoplifting penalties are avoidable if your New Jersey theft charges lawyer files a motion to dismiss the case. This could be much easier if the guard or employees on duty fail to appear in court.
While the value of goods unlawfully taken determines how serious penalties can be, the judge considers several other factors. The court might disregard the value of the movable or immovable property if:
Theft by unlawful taking could become even more severe if it were done along with violent crimes such as:
As a first-degree theft, it might come with fines of up to $200,000 and confinement for up to 30 years.
Regardless of how severe a theft crime appears or how implicating the circumstances are, you can avoid the criminal conviction and the penalties that come with it. The prosecution has a lot to prove, including:
If your theft lawyer in New Jersey can find and present evidence disputing any of the above factors, you could be relieved from all theft charges. You might not lose your freedom or money in hefty fines.
Theft charges are easy to beat when you work with a skilled lawyer. A New Jersey crimes defense attorney can pick the right defense following a proper evaluation of the situation and their in-depth knowledge of New Jersey laws. Some commonly used defenses in theft cases include:
If the defenses fail, your lawyer can assist you in exploring other alternatives that might keep you from prison and keep your criminal record clean. The charges could be downgraded to a less serious one. Alternatively, you can explore the conditional dismissal program or the pre-trial intervention if you are a first-time offender.
If you go to jail for theft, your social and professional life might never be the same again. A criminal theft record on your name could make it difficult for people to trust you. Worse if the conviction could have been avoided, or if you were innocent but couldn’t defend yourself adequately.
Our theft defense attorneys know what is at stake for clients and will do anything to obtain a favorable outcome. Schedule a FREE consultation with us today to discuss the next steps for your case.