Is Theft A Misdemeanor or a Felony In New Jersey?

If, in New Jersey, a person is charged with theft, a conviction will result in certain penalties. These penalties can include serving jail time or paying hefty fines, depending on the exact criminal offenses involved in the charges. Theft crimes in varying degrees can be charged in the state of New Jersey. If a person is facing a theft crime, they should do all they can to gain a reasonable level of comprehension of the following:

    • Is theft a misdemeanor or a felony?
    • What crime degrees exist in New Jersey and how are they determined?
    • If found guilty, what happens next?

Determining Theft Charge Severity

Neither as a felony crime nor as a misdemeanor are theft crimes classified in New Jersey. Rather, the nature of the theft, if it’s committed along with a second crime, and the value of the stolen property are all used in New Jersey to classify the theft. The following is used to differentiate crime levels in New Jersey:

    • Indictable Offenses: In varying degrees, these offenses are charged and are comparable to what could be considered a felony offense. When the crime was carried out and the variables involved will be used to determine the degree of the offense/charge.
    • Disorderly Persons Offenses: Of all theft crimes, these are the least serious and are comparable to what would be considered a misdemeanor.

New Jersey Theft Penalties for Disorderly Persons Offenses

There is a difference between indictable offenses and disorderly persons offenses in New Jersey. Depending on the nature of the crime, different degrees are used to charge indictable offenses (more on that shortly).

For a disorderly persons offense, if property worth less than $200 was taken, a disorderly persons offense could be the resulting charge. Prison time may or may not be required if the defendant is convicted. Up to six months of jail time is allowed in the state of New Jersey upon conviction. A fine of up to $1000 may also be ordered for the convicted person to pay.

Breaking Down Theft Crime Degrees for Indictable Offenses

If found guilty of an indictable offense, the type of penalty faced by a defendant will have everything to do with the degree a person is charged with. The following are degrees of Indictable Offense Theft Crimes:

    • 4th Degree

If property worth less than $500 but in excess of $200 was taken, these theft charges may be used. Where felony-like theft crimes are concerned, this is the least serious. The defendant, if convicted, may need to pay a $10,000 fine or less. They may, however, may have to double the loss of the victim instead – whichever amount is more. They can also face 18 months of jail time or less.

    • 3rd Degree

If property totaling in excess of $500 was taken – but less than $75,000 – these theft charges may be applied. The defendant, if convicted, may have to pay a fine of as much as $15,000 and face jail time between three and five years.

    • 2nd Degree

If property of $75,000 and up was taken by the accused, these theft charges may be applied. The defendant, if convicted, can face a fine of as much as $150,000, and jail time between 5 to 10 years.

    • 1st Degree

As theft crimes go, this is the most serious. The defendant could face, if convicted, up to $200,000 as a fine and up to 20 years in prison. Ordinarily, only if a violent crime was committed along with this theft is this indictment pursued.

The most important thing to remember is that, if you are charged with theft, you should immediately seek the assistance of a qualified attorney.

Do You Need Legal Representation? Contact Carcich O’Shea

If you’ve been accused of a crime – whether you feel you are guilty or innocent – it’s imperative to seek legal representation. Everyone in the United States has rights – whether they are guilty or not. It’s important that, if you’re arrested and accused, you have someone on your side who knows the ropes.

If you’d like to get in touch with Carcich O’Shea, please phone us at 201-988-1308 or email us at Alternatively, you can use our convenient online form, or visit our office at 401 Hackensack Ave.; Suite 707; in Hackensack, New Jersey. We also have an office at 222 N. Main St. in New York City (please call ahead).

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