Theft & Fraud Charges in Somerset County NJ
Charged with Shoplifting in Bridgewater NJ?
Whether you have been charged with shoplifting in Bridgewater or robbery in Bound Brook or theft by deception in North Plainfield, the attorney at Proetta & Oliver can help. Our Somerset County criminal defense lawyers have been defending clients accused of theft crimes in courts throughout New Jersey for the better part of the last decade now. We are well aware of the consequences that come with being charged with a theft related offenses let alone being convicted of one. Most theft offenses in New Jersey can either a be a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor) or a second, third or fourth degree felony. The difference between the degrees could be the difference between receiving a probationary sentence at worst to being incarcerated for up to a decade. On top of the potential crippling prison sentences, anyone charged with a theft related offense could be facing serious immigration consequences as well too. Most theft related offenses in New Jersey are categorized as crimes of moral turpitude, that is the category that triggers immigration consequences in the Federal system.
If you have been charged with shoplifting, theft of movable property, theft of services, robbery, carjacking, burglary or credit card theft, in Somerset County it is imperative that speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer about your options. If you would like to speak to one of the attorneys at Proetta & Oliver about your options then please contact us at (908)533-1064. We can sit down and discuss the specific facts of your case and we will give you our honest feedback on how we can help. We serve all of Somerset County, including towns like Bound Brook, Bernardsville, Watchung, Bernards, South Bound Brook, North Plainfield, Raritan, Somerville and Hillsborough. We are available around the clock to help assist in anyway that we can and as always our initial consultations are free of costs.
Common Theft & Fraud Charges in Somerset County NJ
- Bad Checks
- Credit Card Charges
- Check Fraud
- Fake Id
- Insurance Fraud
- Identity Theft
- Underage Possession of Alcohol / Consumption
Will I go to Jail if I am Convicted of a Theft Charge in NJ?
Most theft related offenses in New Jersey are broken down into four different degrees. A disorderly persons offense, a second, third and fourth degree felony offense. The dollar amount of the “loss” in question is what will dictate what degree a Defendant is charged with and it will also dictate what the potential penalties are as well. Here is a chart that helps breakdown the different degrees.
- 2nd Degree Theft & Fraud Charges:
- The value of the loss has to be in excess of $75,000
- If convicted, a Defendant will be facing anywhere from 5 to 10 years in prison, a fine up to $150,000, a felony criminal record, community service and restitution if applicable.
- 3rd Degree Theft & Fraud Charges:
- The value of the loss has to be in excess of $500 but less than $75,000
- If convicted, a Defendant will be facing anywhere from 3 to 5 years in prison, a fine up to $15,000, a felony criminal record, community service and restitution if applicable.
- 4th Degree Theft & Fraud Charges:
- The value of the loss has to be in excess of $200 but less than $500
- If convicted, a Defendant will be facing up to 18 months in prison, a fine up to $10,000, a felony criminal record, community service and restitution if applicable.
- Disorderly Persons Offense (Misdemeanor) Theft & Fraud Charges:
- The value of the loss has to be less than $200.
- If convicted, a Defendant will be facing up to 6 months in the Somerset County Jail, a fine up to $1,000, a criminal record, community service and restitution if applicable.
For more information on theft offenses in New Jersey, including the potential penalties, please contact our office at (908)533-1064.
What to Know About Theft & Fraud Cases in New Jersey
What Court Do I Have to Appear in for a Theft Case in Somerset County?
Since the vast majority of theft offenses are considered hybrid crimes, meaning that an individual could be charged with either an indictable offense (felony) or a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor), figuring out what Court has jurisdiction can be confusing. All indictable theft related offenses, which means thefts were the loss is greater than $200.00, must be transferred from the local municipal court to the superior court in the county where the incident occurred. On the other hand, all disorderly persons theft related offenses, which means that the value was less than $200.00 will be litigated in the local municipal court in the municipality where the incident occurred. With that being said, it is possible for an indictable offense to be remanded back to the local municipal court for litigation. If this is to occur, that means that the indictable offense would need to be downgraded to a disorderly persons offense. As you can see from reading the potential penalties above, this can be tremendous benefit.
Since it is uncommon to see an individual charged with only one offense when it comes to allegations of theft and fraud charges, it important to discuss what happens if they are charged with both a disorderly person offense and an indictable offense. If this is to occur, the indictable offense will control. That also means that the disorderly persons offense must be transferred up to the superior court as well. The offense will not be elevated to an indictable offense but it will still need to be transferred up. Here is a very unfortunate all to common example: An individual enters Best Buy in Bridgewater and commits the offense of shoplifting by concealing a $50.00 item in their purse. However, when confronted by loss prevention, the individual shoves them out of the way in an attempt to flee the store with the item. Under this scenario, the individual will be charged with a disorderly persons offense shoplifting offense, and because of the shove, the individual is also charged with second degree robbery. The entire case, including the shoplifting offense must be transferred to the Superior Court for litigation. It is important to note here, that the shove, just turned a potential 6 month max county jail sentence into a potential 5 to 10 year prison sentence.
Can the Court Require Restitution on a Theft Case?
The Court has the authority to impose restitution if they determine that the victim of a crime suffered a loss. Restitution is very common in theft and fraud related cases in New Jersey. The Court will be required to be able to set a specific dollar amount for the restitution. If the restitution amount is not agreed upon as part of a negotiated plea agreement, then the individual would be entitled to request a formal restitution hearing. If this is to occur, it will then be up to the Judge to conclude what the actual loss is after taking testimony from the victim.
Contact Somerville NJ Theft and Fraud Attorneys for a Free Consultation Today
Being charged with a theft crime can be overwhelming but hiring the right attorney can go a long way to help relieving some of the stress. More often than not, most of our clients that are charged with a theft related offense are dealing with the judicial system for the very first time in their life. That is why hiring the right attorney, not just one that is dedicated to criminal defense but one that frequently deals with the Somerset County courts is so important. If you have been charged with a theft related offense like shoplifting, receiving stolen property, theft of movable property, insurance fraud or any other offense for that matter in Somerset County, Proetta & Oliver can help. To schedule a free consultation today with one of our attorneys please contact us at (908)533-1064.