Theft of Services Attorneys Paterson NJ
There are a variety of ways an individual may be charged with theft of services in New Jersey. Common scenarios for theft of services charges under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-8 include embezzlement, tampering and/or stealing utilities like electric, gas, water and cable television. There are, in fact, many more situations that fall under the umbrella of the theft of services law. Depending on the circumstances, 2C:20-8 charges can result in a third degree crime or a disorderly persons offense. The following is some important information you probably want to know regarding theft of services. For more information, please give our firm, the Law Offices of Marshall, Bonus, Proetta & Oliver a call at 862-203-4070. We have extensive experience representing clients charged with theft offenses in towns like Totowa, Little Falls, West Milford, Paterson, Passaic City and Woodland Park.
How Does the Prosecutor Prove Theft of Services?
To convict an individual of Theft of Services under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-8, the Prosecutor must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- That the defendant obtained the services;
- That the services were available only for compensation;
- That the defendant knew the services were available only for compensation;
- That the defendant obtained the services by deception, threats or some other fraudulent means; and
- That the defendant purposely obtained the services by means of deception, threat or other means to avoid payment.
“Services” include labor, professional services, transportation, telephone, telecommunications, electric, water, gas, cable television or other public service, accommodation in hotels, restaurants, or elsewhere, entertainment, admission to exhibits, use of vehicles or other movable property. As mentioned above, the services must be services which could only be obtained for compensation, and defendant must know that it could only be obtained for compensation. The Code of Criminal Justice defines broadly the means which are used to unlawfully obtain these services. These include deception, threat, false token, slug or other means including but not limited to mechanical or electronic devices or through fraudulent statements to avoid payment for the services.
What are the Penalties For Theft of Service?
If convicted of a third degree offense for Theft of Service, a defendant will face up to five (5) years in prison. If convicted of a disorderly persons offense for Theft of Service, a defendant will face up to six (6) months in prison. Along with these prison terms, the defendant will also face a mandatory that a minimum fine of $500 be imposed for each offense as well as restitution to the vendor. In determining the amount of restitution, the court must consider the costs expended by the vendor, including but not limited to the repair and replacement of damaged equipment, the cost of the services unlawfully obtained, investigation expenses and attorney fees.