Theft by unlawful taking represents just one type of theft in New Jersey. With that, the statute actually breaks down into two parts. If you face charges under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3(a), you are accused of unlawfully taking or exercising control of moveable property that belongs to someone else. Your intent seemingly focuses on depriving the owner of what is their property.
The second section of the same statute might confuse you. A criminal conviction under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3(b) means you’re guilty of theft by unlawfully transferring any interest in immovable property of another with the purpose of benefiting yourself or someone else who’s not entitled to reap the benefits.
What does all this mean exactly? Theft by unlawful taking of moveable property seems somewhat intuitive as far as the definition. As you enter the fitting room to try on a pair of dress slacks, you notice that someone left behind their wallet.
You open up the wallet and find an assortment of credit cards and a great deal of cash. It’s obviously payday. However, that’s not to say it’s up to you to claim someone else’s cashed check. You look around and figure you can get away with pocketing the cash.
It’s not as if you decide to go out and use the other customer’s credit cards. Meanwhile, you’re later shocked to learn that there are cameras in the dressing room. Ultimately, store security catches up with you and you’re turned over to the police.
All things considered, you knew what you did what was wrong. And, you’ve met the criteria for theft by unlawful taking. Even though you didn’t shoplift or pickpocket, you took something that belonged to someone else.
Theft by Unlawful Taking: Immovable Property
The section of the statute that involves theft by unlawful taking of immovable property deals with something else. Often, this type of charge includes a higher damage amount.
For example, you could be accused of transferring real property to someone else without the legal authority to do so. Last year, many people fell victim to housing scams and fraudulent transfers.
By the same token, you could face charges of this nature if you improperly transferred money from a trust. The same pertains to fraudulent business transactions in a partnership.
With this type of charge, the prosecution must prove that your transfer of any type of interest was not allowed under the law. Additionally, there must be proof that your intentions were to benefit yourself or some other party.
Law Could Be Amended
While more and more people turn to online shopping, one thing appears evident. Home package deliveries continue to surmount. Unfortunately, that means theft of packages also increases.
Last year, the Legislature proposed an amendment to the existing statute. If the law goes through, it will be cited as the “Defense Against Porch Pirates Act.”
If enacted, the new law will include charges relating to taking packages delivered to residential properties. If convicted of this offense with property valued over $200, you could be found guilty of a crime one degree higher than the underlying offense.