WHAT DETERMINES THE DEGREE OF THEFT CRIMES?
In New Jersey, the degree of the theft crime is determined usually by the value of the stolen items under New Jersey Statute 2C:20-2. In most cases, the crime is a second degree if the value is $75,000 or more. A crime is a third degree if the amount is more than $500 and less than $75,000. A crime is a fourth degree if the amount over $200. Finally, the theft is a disorderly person’s offense if the value is less than $200.
In addition, the law allows that the value of separate thefts can be aggregated, or added together, to create a higher total theft. As long as the separate thefts were committed in one scheme or course of conduct, the amounts may be added together to form a larger total amount. For example, a person stole a $400 television and, a few hours later, tried to steal a $250 DVD. Both the TV and the DVD were worth less than $500, but together the value is over $500 and the person was charged with a third degree crime.
In addition to the value, the law sets the degree of the theft crime based on the property stolen, as follows:
- Taken by extortion;
- A person with a fiduciary duty and loss of over $50,000;
- More than one kilogram of a controlled dangerous substance;
- Over $75,000 of federal or state benefits;
- Human body or parts;
- Motor vehicle, boat, or airplane;
- New Jersey Prescription Blank
- Horse or pet;
- Taken from victim’s person
- Less than $50,000 from a person with a fiduciary duty.
- Less than on kilogram of a controlled dangerous substance;
- Less than $75,000 of federal or state benefits;
- Taken by a threat;
- Public record;
- Research materials;
- Access device;
- Anhydrous ammonia to make methamphetamine.
These items are special exceptions to the general rule that the value of the theft determines the degree of the crime. For example, a pickpocket takes a wallet from the victim’s pocket. The wallet is worth ten dollars and the victim only had four dollars in the wallet and used movie ticket. The total value is far less than $200 so this would be a fourth degree crime; however, taking it from the victim’s person makes it an automatic third degree crime. With only this list of exceptions, the general rule in New Jersey is that the value of the theft determines the degree of the crime.
For anyone charged with any degree of theft, the results may be disastrous. A conviction can result in imprisonment and loss of your freedom. In addition to jail or prison time, a court will impose significant fines, and you will have a criminal record.
Because of the significant consequences to you from being charged with theft, it is important to immediately hire a New Jersey theft crimes attorney as soon as you are either investigated or charged with an offense. Hiring a former prosecutor who now practices theft crimes defense can make the difference for you. Please contact an experienced New Jersey criminal attorney about your theft case immediately.
HIRING AN EXPERIENCED NEW JERSEY THEFT CRIMES ATTORNEY
Attorney Douglas Herring is a New Jersey criminal defense attorney who will help you fight your theft charges. Mr. Herring is a former prosecutor in State and Federal Court. He will review your case and work with you to determine a plan to give you the best defense possible.
Mr. Herring handles cases in New Jersey Courts, including Middlesex, Somerset, Mercer, Monmouth, and Hunterdon counties. Mr. Herring will go to court with you and assist in getting you released from custody and explaining to the judge why you should not be held in jail. . When you learn there is a New Jersey theft crimes case filed against you, please contact New Jersey criminal defense attorney Douglas Herring for a free consultation. You can call our office at (888) 334-6344 or (732) 555-1234, (609) 555-1234, or (908) 555-1234, or reach us by completing the form on our contact page or by sending an e-mail. We are available every day of the year, 24 hours a day.
“Connect with Your Defense.”