Defense Attorney for Theft of Movable Property in New Jersey (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3(a))

Movable Property Attorney lawyerA person is guilty of theft if he unlawfully takes, or exercises unlawful control over, movable property of another with purpose to deprive him thereof. Theft cases are widespread and serious. The charge can either be based on a “street crime” or a white collar crime. If you are charged with theft, contact a New Jersey criminal defense attorney immediately in order to protect your rights.

Theft of movable property occurs when an individual “unlawfully takes” or “exercises unlawful control” over the property of another. “Unlawful” means that the accused knew that he or she was not entitled to take, exercise control over, or dispose of the property. The accused need not actually take or move the property for the offense to occur. Only “control” over the property is required. The accused must also intend to deprive the actual owner of the property. “Depriving” another can be permanent or temporary. If the parties agree that the property will be returned, there is no crime until the property is not actually returned.

Grading Offenses

The grading of the offense is based on the value of property or money at issue:

  • Fourth degree offense if the value involved is between $200 and $500
  • Third degree offense if the value involved is between $500 and $75,000
  • Second degree offense if the theft involved a value of $75,000 or more

Under certain conditions, thefts can be aggregated. In other words, the prosecutor may add together theft amounts and use the total as the basis for the charge. Aggregation is allowed only if there is a continuing course of conduct or the thefts are part of a single scheme. A New Jersey criminal defense attorney can advise you as to whether you face aggregated charges.

Sentencing

Sentencing for theft is based on the degree of the offense committed:

  • Fourth degree offense: up to 18 months in prison
  • Third degree offense: up to 5 years in prison
  • Second degree offense: 5 to 10 years in prison

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