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What You Need to Know About First-Time Theft Charges in New Jersey

First Time Theft Charges in New Jersey

If you are charged for a first-time shoplifting misdemeanor with no criminal background, it’s likely you won’t face jail time but it will make a difference for your record.  A history of theft on your record may seriously affect your job prospects because it is a crime of dishonesty. Although you may not face harsh penalties for your crime, the impact on your life may be troublesome. 

General Consequences for Theft Crimes in NJ 

Misdemeanor Charge

Theft of merchandise under the cost of $200 is considered a disorderly persons charge in New Jersey. Individuals can face fines up to $1,000 and up to 6 months in prison if convicted. If this is your first offense and the merchandise was valued at a low price, it is likely that the judge will not send you to prison. For a more serious offense, imprisonment may be more seriously considered. A misdemeanor charge will still show up on your record and may be a hindrance to future employment. 

Fourth Degree Offense

Theft of more than $200 and up to $500 is considered to be a fourth-degree felony offense. While this is often a less serious charge, you could still be spending up to 18 months in prison if convicted. 

Third Degree Offense 

Theft of merchandise totaling more than $500 but less than $75,000 is a third-degree felony offense. Anyone convicted of a third-degree theft crime may be facing between 3-5 years behind bars and a fine of up to $10,000. However, this charge covers a wide range in the price of stolen goods so the judge will decide on a punishment that is fitting to the severity of the crime. 

Second Degree Offense 

Theft of $75,000 or more is a second-degree felony offense, which is the most serious theft offense after a first-degree offense. Penalties for a conviction of a second-degree theft offense include 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $15,000. This type of charge usually reflects the value of the property that was stolen. Also, a second-degree offense may be accompanied by an additional crime such as robbery. 

First Degree Offense  

A first-degree offense is the most serious offense of all. A first-degree offense is usually charged in theft cases where it is also paired with another more violent crime like carjacking, for example. Upon conviction, an individual can face up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $200,000.

Get Legal Counsel

If you face any type of theft-related charge, you should get a seasoned and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. Instead of just pleading guilty, with the help of an attorney you may be able to defer the court hearing and ask for a plea deal which may seal your case. Sealing your case means that your crime will no longer be visible to future employers or companies. Hiring a lawyer will definitely be your best option in this situation. 

Contact An Experienced Union County Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Violence Charges In New Jersey

Were you arrested or charged with theft in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at Zegas Law have successfully represented clients charged with criminal charges in Somerset County, Union County, Essex County, Bergen County, and throughout New Jersey. Call (973) 379-1999 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 60 Morris Turnpike, Summit, NJ 07901.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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