Theft Crimes

Theft is a criminal offense which has serious ramifications. A conviction for theft will appear on your criminal record and will likely lead to loss of employment, problems obtaining a job in the future, and the stigma of being a dishonest person. No matter the facts of your case, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced NJ criminal defense lawyer to determine what defenses you may have to the theft charges. If plea negotiations are called for, then we can use our decades of experience to get you the outcome you need. We have successfully represented clients charged with theft all over the state. If you or a loved one is facing a theft related offense, don’t delay. We are ready to help.

The knowledge of the stolen item can be presumed if (i) a person has two or more stolen items in his possession on two or more separate occasions, (ii) a person has received another stolen item within a year of receiving a stolen item, (iii) a person selling the stolen item did not inquire thoroughly enough whether the item actually belonged to the person from whom he obtained it, or (iv) a person who is found to have two or more defaced access devices, or devices which have the ability to obtain money, goods, or service or to transfer funds. The state must prove that the property was thought stolen and that the accused also possessed that item.

A person cannot be prosecuted for stealing an item and receiving that stolen item. Instead, the charge of one offense is treated like a charge of the other offense. However, this does not tie together all theft charges for all purposes. According to State v. Richardson, a man found in a parked car with the car’s stolen radio constituted theft under this statute but does not offer a rational reasoning to charge the man with joyriding as well.

According to one of the assumptions, a person receiving two stolen items within a year of each other constitutes knowledge of the item being stolen. This includes a previous conviction for receiving stolen property, so if faced with a first time offense it is imperative to avoid conviction for the same. If facing these charges you should contact experienced legal help. LS&P Lawyers are available 24/7 for free consultation and have offices conveniently located in New Jersey.

Robbery is a more aggressive form of theft governed under N.J.S.A 2C:15-1. It requires a theft or the intent to steal and it must be accompanied by another serious crime, most likely an assault, in order to be considered a robbery. This makes robbery a much more severely punished offense than theft. If you are facing robbery charges it is important to seek legal counsel as robbery is a second degree crime at minimum and a conviction can lead to jail time and heavy fines. LS&P Lawyers have an experienced team of criminal lawyers and represent people all over New Jersey.

A person is guilty of robbery if, during the course of a theft, he inflicts bodily injury (pain, physical harm) or uses force upon another, threatens another with immediate bodily injury, or commits or threatens to immediately commit another crime of the first or second degree. Robbery is a second degree crime unless the defendant attempts to kill another, purposely inflicts serious bodily injury (permanent damage, risk of death), or is armed with or threatens to use a deadly weapon, in which case the crime is of the first degree. Conviction for a second degree crime can lead to 5 to 10 years in prison and fines up to $100,000, and a first degree conviction can lead to 10 to 20 years in prison and up to $200,000 in fines, so a robbery conviction can be devastating.

While robbery requires the intent to steal from the victim, the force or bodily injury inflicted does not have to be against the victim. If the defendant causes bodily injury or uses force on others in the course of fleeing with the stolen items, robbery is committed. However, the course of theft is completed if the defendant reaches a place of temporary safety. This means that if the defendant has successfully escaped the scene and is no longer being pursued, the theft is completed and any assault or other first or second degree offense committed after this time does not constitute a robbery charge.

Being armed with a deadly weapon automatically constitutes first degree robbery. The term "armed with a deadly weapon" has two elements: armed and deadly weapon. "Armed" means that the defendant has possession or immediate access to the weapon in question. The use of a "deadly weapon" requires the intent of the defendant to use the object as a deadly weapon. Threatening the victim with a pair of scissors, for example, makes the scissors a deadly weapon. Having the scissors in one’s pocket does not if the defendant has no intent of using it as a weapon. However, all firearms are considered deadly weapons, and being armed with a gun during the course of a theft results in a first degree robbery charge. Even threatening a victim with a toy gun constitutes first degree robbery if it is fashioned in a manner which would lead the victim to believe he is in immediate danger.

Since robbery requires another crime to be committed during the theft, it should merge with the other crime and form one robbery charge. In the case of assault, the defendant cannot be charged both with assault and robbery for the force used. However, if the assault is committed against a police officer, two separate charges can be given to the defendant: a robbery charge because of the use of force during the course of a theft and an aggravated assault charge for the use of force against an officer of the law. Note that while first degree robbery is a merge between assault and robbery, if the charge is downgraded to second degree robbery the court can unmerge the charges and try the defendant with aggravated assault as well. If homicide was committed during the course of robbery, the robbery charge will merge with the felony murder charge.

If you have any questions, please contact our offices. We are available 24/7 for free consultation and are willing to fulfill any of your legal needs.

New Jersey Lawyer News - Theft