Theft Defense Lawyer in New Jersey
The NJ theft lawyers at The Law Office of Jason A. Volet, understand the severe consequences of theft convictions and are prepared to fight for your rights and your freedom. As a former Monmouth County prosecutor, Jason Volet has an insider’s perspective on how theft crimes are prosecuted in Freehold and surrounding communities. Now, as a seasoned criminal defense attorney with more than 2,000 cases under his belt, Jason uses this extensive knowledge to aggressively defend those he represents.
- 1 Theft Lawyer in New Jersey
- 2 Common Types of Crimes Our New Jersey Theft Defense Law Firm Handles
- 3 Credit Card Theft
- 4 Petty Theft in New Jersey
- 5 Shoplifting Charges
- 6 Carjacking in New Jersey
- 7 Grand Theft
- 8 Can Petty Theft Charges be Dropped?
- 9 What Are the Degrees of Theft Crimes in New Jersey?
- 10 What Are Potential Penalties of Theft Charges in New Jersey?
- 11 Common Categories of New Jersey Theft Offenses
- 12 Let Our Experienced New Jersey Theft Defense Attorney Help You
Theft Lawyer in New Jersey
If you or someone you love has been charged with theft, you need to speak with our dedicated New Jersey theft lawyer immediately to start building your defense. Every day you wait is another day the prosecution has to get ahead of you. Schedule a free case consultation today to learn how our skilled legal team can help you and your family during this difficult time.
Common Types of Crimes Our New Jersey Theft Defense Law Firm Handles
Our New Jersey theft defense law firm represents clients in all types of cases, including those accused of:
- Auto theft or carjacking
- Credit card theft
- Data theft and computer crimes
- Receiving stolen property
- Robbery (if the theft involves bodily injury or threat of injury)
- Theft from grave sites
- Cargo carrier theft
- Stealing scrap metal
Every case we handle is unique, so we will tailor a theft defense strategy that addresses the specific circumstances of your case. For example, you may have unknowingly taken an item, or you may have a rightful claim to the property.
Credit Card Theft
Credit card theft is a serious crime in New Jersey, and it can take many forms ─ from simply misleading a credit card issuer about your financial situation to hacking into a website to steal credit card information. Depending on the circumstances, you could also be charged with identity theft. Some of the common accusations people face when it comes to credit card theft include:
- Making false statements to obtain a credit card
- Taking a credit card from someone without consent
- Knowingly using a stolen or counterfeit credit card
- Keeping a credit card that has been lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake
- Selling or buying a credit card
- Altering a credit card or making a fake one
- Skimming credit cards to obtain account information
People who are convicted of credit card theft can face time in prison in addition to large fines. Whether you have been falsely accused of credit card theft, caught up in a misunderstanding, or just found yourself in over your head, you need an experienced New Jersey theft defense lawyer to help you understand the charges you are facing and your options for fighting them. For more information, please refer to our related page on Fraud, our discussion of identity theft, and our article explaining why a credit card fraud charge is different from other fraud charges in New Jersey.
Petty Theft in New Jersey
In New Jersey, petty theft is pursued as a disorderly persons offense if the total value of the goods taken is less than $200.00. Though the value of the theft may seem to be somewhat small, it is important to be aware that the penalties can be significant if one is convicted. Unfortunately, many instances of petty theft are a result of misunderstandings, and a seemingly minor mistake could lead to allegations of petty theft.
To put into perspective the nature of the incidents which might lead to a petty theft case, consider the following representative examples of the kinds of theft which might warrant pursuit of this charge:
- Bicycle theft
- Theft of property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake (N.J.S.A. 2C: 20-6)
- Misappropriating office supplies
- Taking items when lawfully allowed to be in a residence.
Shoplifting is a broad category that actually encompasses a lot of different behaviors. In the state of New Jersey, shoplifting prosecutions are handled according to a very specific set of classifications. Behaviors that may lead to a shoplifting charge include hiding a smaller object inside a larger object, direct theft, and changing price tags. The severity of the consequences associated with a conviction is dependent largely upon the retail value of the property that was taken.
New Jersey has very specific penalties that are associated with shoplifting convictions. If you are convicted of shoplifting in New Jersey, you could face the following consequences:
- Maximum fine of $150,000
- Mandatory community service
- Maximum jail sentence of 10 years
- Ordered payment of restitution
Shoplifting incidents can occur from many different events and often arise as a result of a misunderstanding or a simple error. For more information, you can read more about the types of shoplifting in New Jersey here. In many cases, there can be significant obstacles to the prosecution’s case due to a lack of clear and conclusive evidence. A knowledgeable defense lawyer can help to cast doubt upon the prosecution’s version of events, or plea bargain for a lesser charge when appropriate.
Carjacking in New Jersey
In the state of New Jersey, carjacking is a specific offense that is defined and prosecuted distinctly from other forms of motor vehicle theft. Unlike other auto theft cases, carjacking involves the commission or threat of violence in addition to the illegal taking of the vehicle. Since carjacking is pursued as a felony in the first degree, a conviction carries a number of daunting immediate and long-term consequences.
There are four different actions or circumstances which, when coupled with the theft of a vehicle, may lead to the pursuit of a carjacking case against a defendant. According to the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, an individual must have been “in possession or control” of the taken automobile at the time and one of the following must have also occurred:
- The party in control of the vehicle must have been subject to injury or use of force.
- An occupant of the vehicle was threatened or intentionally made to fear sudden harm.
- The act involved the commission or threat to commit a felony in the first degree or the second.
- The taken vehicle was operated with one or more of the original occupants remaining in the vehicle.
Carjacking convictions are punishable by up to 30 years in prison and will require a minimum sentence of five years without the possibility of parole.
Many people mistake grand theft for incidents of petty theft because the distinction between the two crimes is typically based solely on the value of the objects that are stolen. However, those accused of grand theft in New Jersey can face a number of serious legal consequences if convicted.
Theft is a serious crime in New Jersey, and it can be punishable by numerous penalties, such as imprisonment or even monetary fines exceeding the amount of the property taken. Some common examples of grand theft cases include the theft of the following:
These items are often linked with grand theft because their value typically exceeds the limits for petty theft. Additionally, grand theft can be divided into different degrees based on the severity of the crime, and some charges can result in a felony conviction.
Can Petty Theft Charges be Dropped?
It is extremely important to speak with a seasoned New Jersey theft attorney as soon as possible if you or a loved one is facing a theft charge. That’s because there are many opportunities for a dedicated criminal defense lawyer to fight for your rights and negotiate to get the charges reduced or dropped, if the lawyer is on your case from the start.
Some of the ways our skilled legal team can help include:
Advising you before a theft arrest. If there is a warrant out for your arrest, our New Jersey theft defense attorney will make sure you understand your rights and are not pressured into doing something that will hurt your case.
Negotiating bail amounts and fighting for your rights during your first appearance. Our seasoned legal team will argue that you should be released on the lowest bail amount possible, which may mean demanding that you be released on your own recognizance (ROR).
Arguing to get charges downgraded or dropped before trial. Our experienced New Jersey theft attorney will work tirelessly to resolve your case before it goes trial. This may include a push to reduce the charges or the sentence. In New Jersey, about 70 percent of cases are resolved without going to trial.
Requesting pre-trial intervention (PTI). Depending on the circumstances of your case, we may argue that you should complete a court-supervised program rather than face formal prosecution.
Fighting for your best interests in court. Our experienced New Jersey theft defense lawyer has an in-depth understanding of how the prosecution thinks and how juries work, and our skilled legal team will use that knowledge to build a strong defense for you.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, you need to hire an experienced New Jersey theft lawyer as soon as possible to get to work on your case. At the Law Office of Jason A. Volet, our dedicated legal team will seize every opportunity to fight for your rights both before and during trial.
Schedule a free, no obligation consultation with our seasoned criminal defense team today by calling or filling out our online contact form. For related reading, please see our article on what to expect when facing identity theft charges.
What Are the Degrees of Theft Crimes in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, the gradation of theft offenses depends on the amount of money or the value of the property that is involved. When considering how to charge you, the prosecution will take into account the following allegations.
A person may face second-degree theft charges in New Jersey if any of the following are alleged:
- The amount involved is $75,000 or more.
- The property was taken by extortion.
- The stolen property is a controlled substance in excess of 1 kilogram.
- The stolen property is a person’s federal or state health care benefits, and the amount is $75,000 or more.
- The stolen property is human remains.
A person may face third-degree theft charges if any of the following are alleged:
- The amount involved is less than $75,000 but more than $500.
- The stolen property is a firearm, motor vehicle, vessel, boat, airplane, horse, or domestic companion animal.
- The property stolen is a controlled substance, and the value is less than $75,000 (or undetermined) and the quantity is 1 kilogram or less.
- The property is directly taken from a victim.
- The theft is a breach of an obligation by a person who is acting as a fiduciary.
- The property is taken by threat that does not qualify as extortion.
- The property taken is a public record, writing, or instrument.
- The property stolen is a person’s federal or state health care benefits, and the amount involved is less than $75,000.
- The stolen property is related to research (such as samples, specimens, animals being used for research, records, data or test results, prototypes, equipment, or proprietary research information).
- The stolen property is a New Jersey Prescription Blank.
- The stolen property is an access device or a defaced access device.
A person may face fourth-degree theft charges if the amount involved is not more than $500 but not less than $200.
A person may face a disorderly persons offense if the amount involved is less than $200. (This is sometimes known as petty theft.)
What Are Potential Penalties of Theft Charges in New Jersey?
The penalties a person may face for theft will depend on the charge he or she is facing. That is why our skilled New Jersey theft defense attorney will aggressively negotiate to get a charge downgraded (or dropped) as soon as possible. New Jersey law indicates that penalties for theft include:
|Second-degree theft||Up to 10 years in prison|
|Third-degree theft||Up to 5 years in prison|
|Fourth-degree theft||Up to 18 months of incarceration|
|Disorderly persons offense||Up to 6 months of incarceration|
Common Categories of New Jersey Theft Offenses
Theft crimes can fall into several categories under New Jersey law. Some of the common categories of theft include:
Theft by unlawful taking or disposition (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3) applies to physically taking “movable property” or transferring interest in “immovable property.”
- Movable property could be items such as cash, cellphones, and electronic equipment.
- Immovable property is all other property that cannot be moved.
Theft by deception (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4) occurs when a person purposely obtains someone else’s property through deception. A person may commit theft by deception by:
- Creating or reinforcing a false impression regarding the law, the value of the property, intention or other state of mind
- Preventing someone from getting information that would affect the decision about a transaction
- Failing to correct a false impression
Theft by extortion (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-5) occurs when a person purposely obtains property through extortion. A person may commit theft by extortion by threatening to:
- Inflict physical injury or physically restrain someone
- Accuse someone of a crime
- Expose or publicize a secret, whether it’s true or not
- Take or withhold action as an official (or cause an official to take or withhold action)
- Start or continue a strike, boycott, or other collective action
- Testify, provide information, or withhold testimony or information in someone else’s legal claim or defense
- Inflict materially harm on someone else
Theft of property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-6) happens when a person obtains property that he or she knows was lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake but still decides to keep it.
Theft of services (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-8) involves a person who purposely and knowingly obtains services that are available only for compensation without paying for the services. Common examples of theft of services include stealing:
- Telephone service
- Electric service
- Water service
- Gas service
- Cable TV service
- Hotel stays (by leaving without paying)
No matter what type of theft charge you or a loved one is facing, you need a strong New Jersey theft attorney to fight for your rights. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our dedicated New Jersey theft lawyer.
Let Our Experienced New Jersey Theft Defense Attorney Help You
With extensive experience as both a Monmouth County prosecutor and a Freehold theft defense attorney, Jason Volet understands how important it is for those accused of a crime to have a skilled lawyer by their side as soon as possible. If you or a loved one is facing theft charges in New Jersey, don’t wait to get the legal help you need.
Schedule a free consultation today, and learn how our experienced New Jersey theft defense attorney will fight for your rights and your freedom. Call or fill out our online contact form now.
I’ve hired Jason Volet multiple times, and he has never disappointed me. He is professional, and reliable. He is an amazing attorney and handles everything flawlessly. I’ll always continue going back to him no matter what my situation is, I highly recommend him to everyone!