Bergen County NJ Theft and Fraud Defense Attorneys
Criminal Defense Lawyers with Offices in Hackensack, New Jersey
If you have been arrested and charged with a theft or fraud-related offense, a conviction could spell serious negative implications for your current employment, your immigration status, and your future, particularly if you already have a criminal record. If you are not a citizen of the United States, you may even face deportation for a first offense. Clearly, it is essential to retain knowledgeable legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney. At the Tormey Law Firm, our seasoned defense attorneys have been handling cases like yours for years. In fact, some of our lawyers have also prosecuted these charges on behalf of the State and now use their training and expertise to defend our clients in court.
Travis J. Tormey, the founder of our firm, was heralded as one of the Top 40 Attorneys Under 40 in the Nation in 2014 by the the National Trial Lawyers Association. He was also recognized in 2014 as one of the Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorneys Under 40 In New Jersey by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys. With state and national recognition in the realm of criminal defense, Travis leads a team of highly skilled attorneys who represent clients in Bergen County and across New Jersey on a daily basis. Contact their offices in Hackensack anytime at (201)-330-4979 for a cost-free consultation about your case.
Theft and Fraud Charges in New Jersey
Stealing is a common crime, one many may not even recognize as a crime. Is it stealing if you take pens home from your company workplace? From stealing clothes off a clothing store rack or a car from a stranger’s driveway to stealing by installing a scrambler that leeches off your neighbor’s paid-for internet services, there is no end to how many ways to commit theft. You can commit petty theft, when the value of the item stolen is minimal, or grand larceny, when the value of the stolen items or services is extremely costly. Any form of theft, however, will buy you a trip to the courthouse and possible incarceration. Penalties for theft are high, depending on what you allegedly stole and how.
Some of the theft and fraud offenses that we see regularly include:
- Theft of Movable Property
- Check fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Receiving stolen property
- Theft by deception
- Identity theft
- Official misconduct
The Range of Crimes from Petty Theft to Felony Theft in NJ
There are a number of important elements that play a role in categorizing a theft charge as a felony or petty theft offense. New Jersey determines the severity of theft or fraud charges by calculating a combination of factors, including the value of the stolen property and the amount of force (if any) that was employed during the theft. Basically, the state considers theft by dollar amount thresholds, the method of theft, and the type of property stolen. This sliding scale allows for a wide range of penalties, typically involving a combination of fines and jail time. Any theft related crime classified as a first, second, third, or fourth degree crime is a felony, while any minor shoplifting involving less than $200 worth of merchandise or other disorderly persons theft offense falls into the realm of petty theft.
For example, stealing a Lamborghini from a car lot may land you in prison for up to five years for committing a third degree crime. Likewise, if you extort money from someone by threatening to harm them or their family members, say, by ruining their reputation or destroying their business, you may be committing a second degree crime. And stealing human remains, thieving illegal drugs worth more than $75,000.00 or bilking someone of $50,000.00 worth of Gucci purses in your role as a fiduciary to the owner of the purse company are all second degree crimes.
If the stolen Gucci purses were worth less than $50,000.00 and you took them off the back of a truck, the offense is a third degree crime, and the prison sentence is maximally five years. Also, stealing illegal drugs valued less than $75,000.00 or weighing under one kilogram; shoplifting items worth less than $75,000.00; stealing another’s transportation means, such as cars, boats and planes; stealing animals, whether pets or livestock, like horses or cattle; and stealing public records, medical benefits, prescription blanks, access devices or materials to make illegal drugs, like methamphetamine, you could be arrested for a third degree crime. Fourth degree theft includes items valued under $500.00 but over $200.00, and it is a disorderly persons offense if you steal something worth less than $200.00.
You may be able to Avoid Jail for a First Time Theft Offense
If you are a first-time offender charged with theft in New Jersey, there might be another opportunity for your lawyer to get the charges dismissed. Since theft is a non-violent crime, most first-time offenders are eligible for a diversionary program known as Pretrial Intervention (PTI). PTI is a special program that allows a defendant to stay out of jail and instead be required to adhere to certain rules for a specified period of time. Typically, this ranges from 12 to 36 months during which the defendant will be required to keep out of trouble and possibly meet certain requirements such as drug testing and counseling sessions. At the end of the probationary period, the theft charges against the defendant are dismissed. What does this mean for you? It will basically be as if the theft case never happened, and your record will be clear of a conviction. PTI is only available to a defendant with no prior criminal record, and it can only be used once by a person in the New Jersey legal system. The same goes for similar programs in municipal court, like conditional dismissal and conditional discharge.
Hackensack NJ Theft and Fraud Lawyers Dedicated to Your Best Defense
At The Tormey Law Firm, we review the evidence against you to determine whether your constitutional rights were violated at any point during your arrest. If so, we ask the court to suppress this evidence and ultimately, to dismiss the charges against you. We do not seek plea bargains when the evidence is strongly in your favor. We are experienced courtroom litigators who will proceed to trial to clear your name if it is in your best interests. We have handled thousands of criminal cases from beginning to end and will use our extensive experience to benefit you in court. On the other hand, we are also experienced negotiators who will work with prosecutors to achieve reduced charges that often allow you to avoid jail time when that is the best option available. Regardless of the situation, we always completely explain every option to our clients at each stage of the process, involving them in the decision-making process and ensuring that they feel informed and in control of their own destinies. To read some of what our clients say about us, view our client reviews page.
Call The Tormey Law Firm Today for a Free Consultation
If you need to speak with a Bergen County criminal defense attorney about a pending theft charge against you, call the Hackensack offices of The Tormey Law Firm at (201)-330-4979 or toll-free at 800-292-8815. You can also fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation or an in-person appointment at our Bergen County office location. We will always provide you with all of the answers to your questions, a realistic assessment of your case, and an outline of the possible resolutions.