In layman's terms, theft is defined as taking property that doesn't belong to you. Theft crimes can be constituted in a number of ways, ranging from the taking of tangible items like a car to more abstract forms of theft, like extortion. Regardless of the type of theft crime committed, a conviction will undoubtedly change your life. A conviction for this crime can be charged as a disorderly person offense or an indictable offense, all of which could lead to imprisonment or costly fines.
Theft carries a stigma that makes for stern Ocean County judges and prosecutors. Regardless of a defendant's intentions, harsh penalties are still imposed upon those the Ocean County courts deem as thieves. This is why it's important for people accused of a theft crime to obtain legal counsel from a skilled defense attorney. An experienced lawyer will be able to provide viable options, work towards a sentence reduction, and apply defenses in hopes of prompting the dismissal of your case.
Types of Theft Crimes in Ocean County
New Jersey criminal statutes define theft as the unlawful taking of someone else's property. A sole element that is evident in every constituted theft crime is the intent to deprive an owner of the property that was stolen.
State law highlights a number of specific types of theft offenses. Here's a list of a few of them:
- Theft of services
- Theft by extortion
- Theft by deception
- Theft of lost property
- Receiving stolen property
- The concealment of library material
Disorderly Person vs. Indictable Theft Crimes
As mentioned above, a theft crime in New Jersey can be classified as either a disorderly person offense (a misdemeanor in other states) and an indictable offense (a felony in other states). The category in which a theft crime falls depends on several factors.
The type of crime you allegedly committed, whether or not you're a first-time offender, the value of the property taken, and whether or not the theft crime was committed in conjunction with another criminal offense typically determines the severity of the charges.
Theft as a disorderly person offense
Theft crimes that are classified as a disorderly person offense are generally considered petty theft. If the theft constitutes a disorderly person offense in Ocean County, a defendant will face imprisonment for a term that doesn't exceed six months and a fine of up to $1,000.
Theft as an indictable crime
Theft that constitutes an indictable crime will be charged in degrees. To put things into perspective, an indictable crime is the equivalent of a felony offense in other states.
Theft as a crime of the fourth degree is punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
If the theft is deemed a crime of the third degree, an offender faces an imprisonment term for 3 to 5 and/or a fine of up to $15,000.
If theft constitutes a crime of the second degree, the punishment will include a prison sentence for 5 to 10 years and/or a fine of up to $150,000.
Accused of Theft in Ocean County? Contact the Lento Law Firm
Now that you know what you're up against, you can begin to make smart decisions by consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney. With over 15 years of experience, Joseph D. Lento has the expertise to successfully defend clients who've acquired both disorderly person offense and indictable offense theft crimes. If you've been charged with any of the crimes mentioned above, contact attorney Lento today for a consultation at 888-535-3686.