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The Difference Between Petty Theft and Grand Theft in New Jersey

Legal Blog

According to the law, any kind of theft is considered a crime. However, for anyone who has seen a movie, it’s extremely clear that there are different types of crime. Someone stealing a pack of gum from a convenience store falls into the category of theft, but it does not exist on the same level as the Oceans Eleven movie heist, or grand theft, for example. Given that different kinds of thefts exist, the law must separate these crimes into separate categories. Luckily, New Jersey law works with this understanding, clarifying theft into groups to ensure the convenience store robber would not face the same penalty as the Oceans Eleven thefts.

The two terms deemed appropriate by the law in New Jersey are Petty Theft and Grand Theft. While all thefts are frowned upon by the state, they do separate the crimes to ensure penalties are relative to the crimes. With that in mind, let’s see the differences between Petty Theft and Grand Theft in New Jersey.

Petty Theft-

Petty Theft categorizes thefts totaling under $200. For example, the pack of gum scenario listed above falls into the Petty Theft category. This category exists to punish those who steal altogether, but not keep them in the same category as someone who steals highly valuable items or possessions. Petty Theft criminals face up to six months in jail, and up to $1,000 in fines.

Grand Theft-

Grand Theft fits right in with the “grand” word. It covers thefts of larger magnitudes. The greater theft means the stealing of multiple valuable possessions, or perhaps the theft of one extremely expensive possession. Regardless, Grand Theft works on a much larger scale than Petty Theft, thus carrying much more significant penalties. The punishments are much more detailed and much more severe in the case of Grand Theft. Let’s take a closer look.

Potential Penalties For Grand Thefts

When one commits a Grand Theft, they are putting themselves at the mercy of the law. The law separates these thefts even further, however, to ensure that once again the penalty matches the crime. For example, stealing $500 worth of merchandise should not carry the same penalty as thieving $25,000 worth of possessions. Thefts separate into two categories from here: second degree and third degree. Third-degree thefts are considered more severe according to New Jersey laws.

Potential second-degree thefts include the taking by extortion, a loss of over $50,000, the inclusion of more than one kilogram of a controlled, dangerous substance, over $75,000 in federal or state benefits, and/or human body parts. As you can tell, these are severe thefts but do not reach the same degree of third-degree thefts.

Third-degree thefts somehow manage to top the long list of potential second-degree thefts. Possibilities for third-degree thefts range even more. One possibility is the theft of a motor vehicle, boat, or airplane. Another is the theft of a firearm. Other options include the theft of pets, research materials, public records, access devices, or anything taken from a victim’s person. However, the way the theft occurs fits into this category as well. When a theft occurs by threatening the victim, it falls into the category of a third-degree theft.

Now that we understand the different types of petty and grand thefts, what happens in the case of your being wrongly accused of one of these types of thefts?

What To Do If Wrongly Accused Of A Petty Or Grand Theft

The first step when accused of any kind of a theft is to call a Criminal Defense Attorney experienced in defending those involved in similar cases. The best Criminal Defense Attorneys worked for years to understand the ins and outs of the laws, knowing the minute details that can help set you free or break open the prosecution’s case. While their past experience helps, your case receives treatment on an individual basis. However confident you may feel working on your own, experts are experts for good reason.

New Jersey laws serve as complex and complicated guidelines for people to follow. Without studying the law for an extended period of time, people will miss details that can make or break their cases. Calling a Criminal Defense Attorney works to ensure you receive the best possible assistance and limit the punishments you face.

In the end, your main goal is to stay out of jail and defend yourself against serious accusations. When you have a problem with your teeth, you call a dentist. When you have a problem with your finances, you call a financial expert. This situation may be more severe, but the overall way the situation works is the same. You need the best help possible to ensure you limit the penalties you face and defend yourself against the accusations. Criminal Defense Lawyers serve for that exact purpose.

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