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Are Theft Crimes in New Jersey a Misdemeanor or Felony Offense?

Have you recently been arrested for or charged with theft crimes in New Jersey? You likely know that you can face serious penalties if you are convicted, including monetary fines and imprisonment. In addition to the immediate penalties imposed by the court, a criminal conviction of a misdemeanor or a felony offense can also have substantial repercussions beyond your sentence. To be sure, a person in New Jersey who is convicted of certain theft crimes can limit his or her ability to obtain certain jobs, credit lines, and other benefits.

Are theft crimes in New Jersey classified as misdemeanors or felonies? A theft crime in New Jersey can be either an indictable offense (which would be considered a felony elsewhere) or a disorderly persons offense (which would be considered a misdemeanor elsewhere). A variety of factors play into to whether the theft is an indictable offense or a disorderly persons offense.

What factors can influence the severity of the criminal charge and the possible penalties? Factors that can shift the offense from a misdemeanor to a felony, as well as to felony charges of ranging degrees, include but are not limited to:

  • Specific type of theft crime
  • Whether the offense was committed by a first-time offender
  • Value of the property taken illegally
  • Whether the offense occurred in conjunction with another criminal offense (especially a violent crime)

If you are facing theft charges, you should always discuss your case and your defense strategy with an experienced Monmouth County theft defense lawyer. It is important to take every step you can to avoid a criminal conviction, and the Law Office of Jason A. Volet can help.

General Offenses and Penalties for Theft Crimes in New Jersey

In general, based on the variety of factors mentioned above, theft crimes can be charged as misdemeanor offenses, all the way up to first-degree felonies. The possible offenses and penalties that you can face for theft crimes under New Jersey law (Title 2C—The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice) include:

  • First-degree felony: The most serious of all felony charges, a conviction of a first-degree felony can lead to imprisonment for a period of up to 30 years and a fine of up to $200,000. In general, a first-degree felony typically is charged only in theft crime cases where the theft was committed in conjunction with a particularly violent crime (for instance, carjacking).
  • Second-degree felony: After a first-degree felony offense, this is the most serious felony charge that a defendant can face. Second-degree felony theft offenses, upon conviction, carry penalties of five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Second-degree theft felonies can be charged in a variety of situations, but this serious charge often reflects the high value of property stolen and/or the accompaniment of the theft crime by an additional crime of great severity, such as robbery.
  • Third-degree felony: A person convicted of a third-degree felony theft offense can receive a prison sentence of three to five years and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Fourth-degree felony: This is the least serious of all felony theft offense charges, but it nonetheless carries with it substantial penalties. A person in New Jersey who is convicted of a fourth-degree felony theft offense can be sentenced to a term of up to 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Disorderly persons offense (New Jersey’s misdemeanor offense charge): If you are convicted of a misdemeanor theft offense, you can still face jail time. The law specifies that a defendant convicted of a misdemeanor theft offense can receive a sentence of up to six months of imprisonment and a monetary fine of up to $1,000.

Understanding How Value Can Impact the Degree of Theft Crime Charges

The value of the item stolen in a theft crime has a substantial impact upon the charge. Under New Jersey law, the following values indicate the level of charge:

  • Theft of $75,000 or more: second-degree felony offense
  • Theft of more than $500 but less than $75,000: third-degree felony offense
  • Theft of more than $200 and up to $500: fourth-degree felony offense
  • Theft of less than $200: disorderly persons offense

Alternate Sentences through Diversionary Programs

If you have been arrested for and/or charged with a theft offense in Monmouth County, it is not yet a given that you will have to face jail time. You may be eligible for diversionary programs that aim to provide rehabilitative services — typically to first-time offenders — and to discourage criminal activity in the future.

How might New Jersey’s diversionary program offerings be able to help in your case? In brief, there are a few different options that may be available to an offender charged with a theft crime, including the following:

  • Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI): As the New Jersey Courts website explains, the Pretrial Intervention Program, if successfully completed, can allow a defendant (usually a first-time offender) to avoid a felony or disorderly persons conviction. An offender will need to be under PTI program supervision for a period of one to three years, and the offender will need to comply with the conditions of the program (including, for instance, community service or paying restitution to victims). Once PTI is successfully completed, the defendant will have, according to the website, “no record of conviction and the defendant avoids the stigma of a criminal record.”
  • Conditional Dismissal: Somewhat similar to PTI, a conditional dismissal program is a diversionary program that permits a defendant to avoid having a record of criminal conviction, as well as to avoid certain penalties associated with a disorderly persons conviction. As a New Jersey Courts memo explains, conditional dismissal is only available to first-time offenders charged with disorderly persons offenses, and those offenders cannot have participated previously in a conditional discharge, conditional dismissal, or PTI program.

Such diversionary programs can be enormously beneficial to defendants. PTI and conditional dismissal programs can allow you to avoid the harsh penalties associated with felony and disorderly persons convictions, as well as the social and legal stigma associated with a criminal conviction. It is extremely important to discuss your case with an aggressive New Jersey criminal defense lawyer to learn more about your eligibility for diversionary programs and how to apply.

Contact an Experienced Monmouth County Theft Defense Lawyer

If you are facing theft offense charges, the next step is to speak with an experienced theft defense attorney in Monmouth County, N.J., about your case. At the Law Office of Jason A. Volet, we offer a free consultation and can begin discussing defense strategies with you today. Contact us for more information about getting to work on your case.

Understanding Shoplifting

Ranking as the country’s top property crime, shoplifting is a serious concern in the United States. Shoplifting results in more than $20 billion dollars in property loss annually for U.S. retailers. Because of the sheer number of thefts and revenue loss linked to shoplifting, many states have taken a harsh stance and have strengthened their criminal penalties for anyone convicted of these charges. Today we give you the basic keys to understanding shoplifting.

How Do Shoplifting Charges Work?

Contact New Jersey criminal defense attorney Jason Volet today for a free consultation.There are two different types of shoplifting charges that a person may face, defined as theft under the criminal code. The details on these charges can change from state to state, but many of the same rules apply.

The lesser shoplifting charge, petty theft, can occur when a person takes a small-value piece of property, such as a movie or some food. These charges typically only deal with property under a certain value.

The more serious allegations come when the stolen item’s value exceeds this maximum petty theft value. If a person steals something or a number of items exceeding the petty theft value, they may be charged with grand theft. These charges often carry severe mandatory sentencing if a person is convicted.

How Can You Fight Shoplifting Charges?

The criminal justice system is complex and often confusing for many people. It’s common to rely on a legal advisor to help if charged with petty or grand theft crimes. Arrests for shoplifting usually only occur after some physical evidence of theft has been uncovered, making these allegations particularly tough to fight.

If you’ve been charged with shoplifting, you could be facing anywhere from probation through jail; shoplifting can be graded as a disorderly person’s offense which will be heard in municipal court or it can be graded as a fourth degree or a third degree or even a second degree depending on the value of the items that were taken. In order for the state to prove that you’ve committed a shoplifting, they have to prove that you have passed all point of sales and that you intended to take that merchandise without paying for it. If you’ve been charged with this crime, contact an attorney immediately to defend you against these charges.

If you’re facing shoplifting charges and aren’t sure about what next steps to take, I may be able to help you. Contact me today to schedule a free case evaluation. Once I have learned about your situation I can explain the options available.

What To Do If Your Child Was Caught Shoplifting

First and foremost, remain calm. Most prosecutors acknowledge the difference between impulsive shoplifting for an inexpensive item from a felony shoplifting arrest.

If your daughter is arrested for shoplifting, the best course of action is usually to seek the counsel of an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney.  An experienced lawyer can immediately begin representing your daughter and protecting her interests against the state.

Unfortunately, many times parents believe that if they call the prosecutor’s office and explain that this is the first time their daughter has been arrested, that the prosecution’s office will simply dismiss the case. Usually, this is not the best course of action.

Prosecutors are usually willing to speak to a criminal defense attorney, as it’s typically necessary during any criminal proceeding. As a criminal defense attorney with more than 15 years of legal experience, my job will be to speak with the prosecution’s office to understand their thoughts and objectives. I have a wealth of experience and knowledge concerning how shoplifting cases are typically handled. I will use this experience to seek the best possible outcome based upon how the prosecution’s office has handled similar cases.

Before speaking with the prosecution’s office, I will want to fully understand the circumstances relating to the case. Often the case of the prosecution may be weak. They may not have any eyewitnesses who want to be involved. There may be other facts that cast doubt on whether they can prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

In these cases, it may be more advantageous to pursue having the charges dropped entirely. If the prosecutor won’t drop the charges, pursuing a plea bargain is another option. Once I know about the facts and circumstances, I can offer legal advice and strategy on how to proceed.

Please Call Me to Learn More

I am happy to meet with you to learn more about any shoplifting or other criminal charge. It’s important to consider retaining a theft defense lawyer as soon as possible, so that your interests are protected and rights are preserved.


3 Common Questions You May Have About Your Miranda Rights

When a person is arrested, the police are supposed to read them their rights as a person facing criminal allegations. This reading, sometimes known as a Miranda warning or a reading of the Miranda rights, is a basic part of most arrests and is required in many cases. However, not all arrests require the reading of these rights at the time of arrest.

If you have been arrested and are facing criminal charges, it is important that you obtain vigorously committed legal representation in your case. For a free consultation regarding your case, contact the New Jersey criminal lawyers of the Law Office of Jason A. Volet at (732) 863-5050.

Do the Police Have to Read the Miranda Rights Every Time?

It is not required that police officers always read a person their Miranda rights if they want to question them. In some cases, officers may stop someone on the street or take them to the police station and ask them about a crime without reading these individuals their Miranda rights. This is typically acceptable because these individuals are not in police custody at the time of questioning.

What Are the Miranda Rights?

The Miranda rights are a set of warnings issued to a a person being questioned by the police which are intended to prevent them from self-incrimination. These rights insulate a person against unfair interrogation or being forced by the police to make a false statement. They include the right to remain silent, the right to seek a legal advisor, and the right to stop speaking to a police officer at any point during an interrogation.

Contact New Jersey criminal defense attorney Jason Volet today for a free consultation.What Happens if These Rights Are Not Read?

If an officer is supposed to read these rights, but fails to do so, the information obtained through subsequent questioning cannot be used in court. This includes any confessions that may have been issued.

What are My Rights if I am Arrested in New Jersey?

When you are arrested for a crime, you are still entitled to certain inalienable rights under the law. The police cannot take these rights from you, and if they do violate them by making a wrongful arrest or neglecting proper procedure, the charges against you may be dropped.

Under the U.S. Constitution you have the following rights:

  • The right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself.
  • The right to hire a lawyer or have one provided for you by the state.
  • The right to a fair trial before your peers.
  • Protection against improper search and seizure.

Contact Us

If you were arrested, taken into police custody, and questioned, you should have received a reading of your rights. If the police failed to do this, a skilled and experienced criminal attorney may be able to have related evidence excluded from consideration of your case.

An experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer can help to explain your rights and your options during questioning, your hearing, and your trial. To speak with an attorney about your criminal charges and organizing your legal defense, contact the Law Office of Jason A. Volet at (732) 863-5050.


How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Me?

With a multitude of internet resources and books available regarding how the law works, many people believe that they are capable of handling their own defense if charged with a crime. However, even minor criminal convictions can have significantly greater effects than a person may first realize. Additionally, criminal defense cases can prove complicated in some cases, virtually requiring professional legal help.

When you are arrested for a crime, the prosecution will likely take an aggressive stance to try to convict you as quickly and as severely as possible. You need an experienced New Jersey criminal lawyer who understands your rights and criminal charges and can fight back in your defense. A criminal attorney can help you through all steps of your criminal case, from advising you during police questioning to gathering evidence and testimony in your defense.

How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Me?

Attorneys can provide invaluable services during a person’s criminal defense case. Some defendants may not see the point in hiring an attorney, however. This is especially the case if they intend on pleading guilty or don’t believe that the penalties are serious enough to warrant a legal advisor’s help. However, a lawyer can provide the following important services:

  • Work through important legal procedures and paperwork.
  • Prepare a strong legal defense against a criminal charge.
  • Take some of the burden of dealing with legal problems.
  • Provide advice when difficult decisions arise.

Even seemingly minor criminal charges can have long-term consequences for a person, making his or her criminal defense case all the more important.

If you’re facing criminal charges and are thinking about representing yourself in court, you may want to at least speak with an attorney first to learn more about your options. For a confidential consultation, contact me today. Once I have learned about your case I can explain the options available.

Having a knowledgeable, competent lawyer on your side during your criminal trial can make all the difference in your case. Our New Jersey criminal defense attorneys understand the ins and outs of the criminal system and will work aggressively to pursue a favorable resolution for your case.

What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Attorney

When a person is facing prosecution for criminal charges, they may want to find a legal defender who can provide a strong defense for their rights. The criminal defense process can be particularly complex at times, making it all the more important for a legal defender to have a strong understanding of the law and how to use it to defend a client. With this in mind, it’s important for a person facing criminal accusations to find a worthwhile attorney.

There are thousands of criminal defense attorneys in the state of New Jersey, making the choice of picking a single representative more difficult. However, there are some important indicators that a person may want to look for when searching for legal help. These things include:

These important pieces of information can help a person get a clearer picture of who an attorney is and how capable they are of successfully working with clients.

Who is the Best New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer for Your Case?

When searching for the best New Jersey criminal defense lawyer for a case, people often turn to the Internet to look for search rankings or some other type of objective criteria, such as a list. As with all professions, there is not a single objective measure of what constitutes the “best.” There are, however, certain criteria that may be important for you or your case, such as the following:

Certification by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Criminal Trial Attorney

In New Jersey, experienced criminal trial lawyers can apply to be certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Criminal Trial Attorney. To learn more about New Jersey criminal trial attorney certification, please read the articles on this site. Certification requires meeting a number of standards, including recognition by other attorneys. I am one of a limited number of attorneys in New Jersey who have been certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Criminal Trial Attorney.

Litigation and Trial Experience

Another aspect to consider in choosing a criminal defense lawyer is the amount of experience that the lawyer has. I have been an attorney focused on criminal law matters for more than 15 years, and have worked on more than 2000 cases, starting as a former Assistant Prosecutor in Monmouth County. Having formerly served as a prosecutor, I know what it’s like to practice criminal law as both a prosecutor and defense attorney.

Trust and Dedication

Criminal matters are serious. If you’ve been charged with a crime, you need an attorney not only whom you can trust, but one who will work tirelessly in seeking to achieve for you the best outcome possible given the facts and circumstances of your case.

I and my firm have the experience, dedication, and trust that are often highly sought after in searches for a criminal defense attorney. We provide all of our clients with tenacious representation and full attention to their matter.

If you need a criminal defense lawyer, we would look forward to meeting with you and learning about the events pertaining to your charge, whereupon we can explain how we can help if we are retained. Please call our firm to schedule an appointment at your convenience.

Never Try to Represent Yourself Against a Serious Criminal Charge in Criminal Defense Case

In the legal world, there is a saying that “A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.” This adage recognizes that even lawyers should retain legal counsel in serious legal matters rather than representing themselves.

If a lawyer, who has the legal education and perhaps many years of legal practice, should retain another lawyer instead of representing himself or herself, so too should non-lawyers retain a lawyer for a legal matter.

In criminal matters, the law is complicated and prosecutors work hard in seeking to convict. They want their conviction rate to be high so that their record looks good. Their job is not to care about how a legal conviction may affect the life or family of a person charged with a crime.

An experienced criminal defense attorney often will have years of practical experience and be in a much better position to advocate strongly and develop solid legal strategy than a person who has no training in the law.

Experienced criminal lawyers know how to spot evidence that may be inadmissible, and how to move to seek that such evidence is never introduced at trial. In the case where the prosecution’s main evidence is likely to be inadmissible, a criminal attorney may remind the prosecutor of the prosecutor’s legal duty to dismiss a case if there is not credible and admissible evidence upon which a conviction may be obtained. Experienced criminal lawyers thus not only focus on winning a case at trial, but also on strategies to have cases dismissed or charges reduced wherever possible prior to trial.

When charged with a crime, you should never try to go it alone.

The stakes are usually too high. If you’ve been charged with a crime, please call our office to schedule an appointment to learn how we may be able to help.

This informational blog post was brought to you by Jason A. Volet, an experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer.

New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney Discusses Stealing a Credit Card

If you’ve been charged with stealing a credit card from a person, whether you found it in a store or you took it out of their pocketbook, it’s important that you hire an experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney right away because it is likely that you will be charged with theft of a credit card. Being charged with theft of a credit card can result in significant consequences for you such as jail time. It also can have a significant impact on your future, as being convicted of theft crimes is a deterrent for future employers from hiring you. It’s important if you’ve been charged with a type of crime like this, that you hire a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney who has dealt with this type of an offense as well as the prosecutor’s office and the judges in order to get the best possible outcome for you.

If you have been charged with stealing a credit card, contact our experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney to defend you.

This informational blog post was provided by Jason A. Volet, an experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney.

Monmouth County Criminal Attorney Discusses Selling Stolen Valuables


What degree of criminal offense in NJ is theft by knowingly receiving moveable property belonging to a victim? For example, by taking a diamond ring valued at $3200 and gold hoop earrings valued at $200 and selling the items without the owner’s permission to a pawn shop. Bail was set at $5000 at which a bond was posted for a fee of $550, $500 for the bail bond and $50 for processing fee.


As a Monmouth County Criminal Attorney, this is a 3rd degree offense. You face a maximum sentence of between 3 and 5 years in State Prison. Depending on the circumstances and your prior record probation or PTI may be an option. I recommend hiring a good Monmouth County Criminal Attorney.

This legal question was provided by a Avvo and answered by Jason Volet an experienced Monmouth County Theft Attorney. This does not consent an attorney client relationship.

How Do Criminal Cases Typically Proceed?

The basic process of a criminal case begins with a defendant being arrested and charged with committing a crime. The government is responsible for proving that there is irrefutable reason to believe that the defendant committed the crime. The following process then takes place:

  • Bail hearing – The defendant appears at a hearing and the presiding judge will decide if the defendant will be let out on bail or kept in custody.
  • Probable cause hearing – The judge will decide if there is enough evidence to support charging the defendant with the crime.
  • Arraignment – This is where the defendant enters the plea, such as guilty, not guilty, or guilty but mentally unstable.
  • Trial – If the defendant pleads not guilty, the criminal trial is often the next step.
  • Acquittal or sentencing – The defendant is acquitted of the crime if found innocent or is sentenced to various penalties if found guilty.

If you are currently facing a criminal case, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable defense lawyer. Contact the experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Jason A. Volet at 732-503-8968.

This informational blog post was brought to you by Jason A. Volet, an experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer.

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