Theft is a serious offense in New Jersey that can be charged as an either an indictable crime or a disorderly persons offense. In Bayonne, all low-level theft offenses are heard in Bayonne Municipal Court, while higher-level indictable crimes are heard in Hudson County Superior Court. Among the many differences between a disorderly persons theft versus a felony theft case, one will allow a state prison sentence while the other permits only a county jail sentence for those convicted. When you have been arrested for a theft crime in the city of Bayonne, it is crucial to understand the significant differences in the charging and grading of theft offenses, as well as the possible punishments that apply. Moreover, a Bayonne theft defense lawyer can serve as a vital asset to you when seeking the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us at (201) 793-8018 if you would like to speak with a local criminal attorney about the circumstances surrounding your theft charges. We are available right away to provide you with a free consultation.
Theft Charges in Bayonne, New Jersey
All criminal offenses, including theft, must be categorized as indictable (felony) crimes, disorderly persons, or petty disorderly persons offenses. Felony crimes are the more serious charges that can be lodged against you and they allow for more severe penalties than disorderly persons offenses. Additionally, the processing of these types of complaints is different, as is the criminal process that follows. Fortunately, before you can ever be sentenced for theft, the prosecutor has to prove that you are guilty of committing the specific form of theft alleged in your case.
For example, you can be charged with theft for “movable” or “immovable property,” known as theft by unlawful taking or disposition. In essence, the first section of this statute means that you took property or controlled “movable property” belonging to another with no intention of giving it back. Common examples of theft under this provision are: taking money, jewelry, phones, electronics, a purse, wallet, rare coins, or anything of value. These items are termed “movable property” because they are tangible. You can be charged under the section section of this law if you took property that was “immovable” with the primary goal of benefiting yourself. If you transfer an interest in property belonging to someone else, you can be found guilty. For instance, transferring title to real estate, bank accounts, or motor vehicle titles for your own benefit may result in these charges.
In addition, the other forms of theft that may be charged under other sections of the New Jersey Criminal Code. For example, shoplifting, burglary, unlawful taking by means of conveyance, credit card theft, receiving stolen property, and writing bad checks all involve some element of theft. Theft by deception and theft of services are other common examples that may lead to your arrest.
Punishments You Face for Committing a Bayonne Theft Offense
Ultimately, if you are found guilty of a felony theft offense in Hudson County Superior Court, you face consequences based on the degree of the crime. Theft in the second degree means that you took something that did not belong to you that has a proven value of $75,000 or more. For this level of offense, you are exposed to prison for 5-10 years, paying $150,000 in fines, and being required to pay restitution for the loss suffered by the alleged victim. Conversely, third degree theft requires the state to prove that you took item(s) worth $500-$75,000 that you had no right or permission to take. If the items are proven to have the ascribed value, you face 3-5 years of imprisonment, restitution, a maximum fine of $15,000, and probation.
Fourth degree crimes are the lowest level felony theft charge that can be filed against you in Bayonne and across the state of New Jersey. It is charged when the value of the items taken have an established value between $200 and $500. A conviction for a fourth degree theft permits a prison sentence of 18 months and a fine amounting to $10,000. In addition to these consequences, the court must order collection of your fingerprints and DNA to identify you as a convicted felon in the statewide criminal database.
For disorderly persons offenses involving theft in Bayonne, state prison sentences are not permitted, as these offenses are punishable by county jail time instead. A disorderly persons offense, which often involves shoplifting, will be charged and heard in Bayonne Municipal Court when it is alleged that you stole any item having a value under $200. For this degree of theft offense, you can be sent to the Hudson County Jail for 6 months, be ordered to pay $1,000 in fines, be placed on probation, forced to pay restitution, and required to pay mandatory court penalties.
Know Your Options to Resolve a Theft Case in Bayonne NJ
No two theft cases or defendants in Bayonne are the same. Everyone has different circumstances leading to their charges, criminal backgrounds, futures, and interests. For instance, Pretrial Intervention (PTI) is a program allowing for the dismissal of your certain felony theft charges by imposing certain conditions upon first offenders who, upon completion, can avoid a conviction on their record. In Bayonne Municipal Court, a similar program is offered to resolve a theft case, which is referred to as conditional dismissal.
Theft Offense Attorneys in Bayonne, New Jersey Free Consultation
Hudson County courts and prosecutors have an interest in protecting others and the community from lawless behavior such as theft. Be sure that you become successful handling Bayonne theft charges by knowing and seeking any and all of the potentially favorable options for resolving your case. Contact us today at (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation to talk over your situation or schedule an appointment with a knowledgeable criminal lawyer defending clients charged with theft offenses in Bayonne, New Jersey.