In criminal law, it seems like there are many words for the same thing. Larceny, robbery, embezzlement, fraud, what does it all mean? This is an important question if you are facing criminal charges or are the victim of a theft. Here is a short guide to the different categories of theft crimes in New Jersey.
Theft Defined Under NJ Law
Generally, theft is defined as the “unlawful taking” or “exercising of control” over someone else’s property. The offender must act with the intent to deprive the owner of the property, and there are different penalties depending on the severity of the crime. Depending on the details of the crime, the New Jersey criminal code has a number of specific offenses including theft by deception, extortion, theft of services, shoplifting, and others.
Like other crimes in NJ, theft crimes are ranked by degree. A disorderly persons, Also known as “petty theft,” crime is when the amount of the goods/services stolen is less than $200 and is a non-violent offense. The rest of the crimes are ranked from Fourth to First Degree depending on the perpetrator’s actions.
- Robbery. Defined under NJ law as a theft combined with a secondary act, which include inflicting bodily injury or using force upon someone else and threatening to use such force. This is a second degree crime. Common crimes under this category include carjacking and armed robbery. If convicted, the punishment is up to ten years in prison and massive fines.
- Non-violent thefts. Crimes include shoplifting, receiving stolen property, stealing lost or misplaced property, and others. The amount of the goods or services stolen will determine the severity of the punishment. Identity theft is a rising crime in the internet age, and sometimes is classified as a federal crime.
- Fraud. This category encompasses the more “white collar” crimes like embezzlement, or theft by deception. These crimes usually don’t involve violence, but the amount stolen can be very high in more sophisticated schemes. These crimes can get complicated and if faced with one of these charges, it’s imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in these cases.
Seek Legal Help!
Regardless of the category, a criminal defense attorney will be the best resource in understanding the fine points of each crime and the possible punishment. Never face a theft charge alone, as it can be not only expensive, but could cost you your freedom and leave you with a permanent criminal record. An experienced attorney can help you with a plea deal or even have charges dismissed due to evidentiary issues. Never face these charges alone.
Contact an Experienced Camden Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Theft Charges in New Jersey
Were you arrested or charged with theft in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jill R. Cohen have successfully represented clients charged with theft in Cherry Hill, Gloucester Township, Pennsauken, Winslow and throughout NJ. Contact the Law Offices of Jill R. Cohen at (856) 242-7177 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 210 Haddon Avenue, Haddon Township, NJ 08108.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.