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If you are reading this page, you or a loved one may have been charged with a theft crime in Passaic County, New Jersey. Theft crimes generally cover a range of offenses in the New Jersey criminal code including burglary, auto theft, receiving stolen goods and shoplifting. First degree theft charges are the most serious because they involve taking property and violence. Anyone facing charges of stealing or theft in New Jersey needs an experienced Passaic County defense lawyer to fight for your rights. The defense attorney you choose can make all the difference.
The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall has a team of seasoned criminal defense lawyers ready to stand up for you. Our attorneys have an insider’s understanding of New Jersey’s criminal justice system, having spent decades working as prosecutors and public defenders in courthouses across New Jersey before joining The Law Offices of Jonathan Marshall. Our attorneys have earned a reputation as skilled criminal defense lawyers based on our ability to spot weaknesses in the prosecution case and structure effective defense strategies.
A conviction of theft charges can brand you as a dishonest person and adversely affect your future. Don’t try to deal with the justice system on your own if you are facing theft charges anywhere in Passaic County, including Paterson, Passaic, Bloomingdale, Clifton, Little Falls, Wayne and West Milford. Our criminal defense attorneys can meet with you at a location convenient to you and move quickly to provide legal guidance based on decades of experience.
Call us or fill out our online contact form to meet with a seasoned Passaic criminal defense attorney with the Law Offices of Jonathan Marshall. Our attorneys offer initial legal consultations free of charge and frequently meet with clients and their families on weekends and at night. We can move quickly to seek your release from jail on your own recognizance or for the lowest bail available.
Common Types of Theft Charges in Passaic County
Our attorneys have represented clients in a wide range of theft cases. These cases share in common the element of intent to deprive an owner of their property without compensation. Some of the common types of theft cases that we have handled include:
- Auto Theft — Stealing a car is a fourth-degree offense in New Jersey that could lead to a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The New Jersey criminal justice system treats auto theft seriously and won’t dismiss an auto theft charge as a juvenile prank. But with skilled legal representation, it may be possible to negotiate a reduction in the charges.
- Burglary — Burglary is a serious crime in Passaic County, carrying a prison sentence of 5 years to 10 years and fines of thousands of dollars upon conviction. A conviction of second-degree burglary could fall under the No Early Release Act and require the individual serve at least 85 percent of their prison sentence before eligibility for parole.
- Possession of Burglary Tools — An individual who makes or possesses any tool or implement commonly used or designed for forcible illegal entry into a premises in Passaic County may be charged with a fourth-degree offense of possession of burglary tools. The penalty for conviction is up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Receiving Stolen Goods — Taking possession or control of property of another knowing that is stolen or suspecting that it is probably stolen is a crime in New Jersey set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7. It is typically charged as a second-, third- or fourth-degree felony, depending on the facts of the case and the value of the stolen goods. It may be charged as a disorderly persons offense.
- Shoplifting — The New Jersey Criminal Code (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11 list) lists six actions that result in a charge of shoplifting. A shoplifting charge may be either a misdemeanor or a second-, third-, or fourth-degree felony depending on the value of the property taken.
- Theft by Deception — This typically involves creating a misimpression or failure to clarify a misunderstanding linked to the ability to pay for or provide services to another. A common example is a roofing contractor or building contractor who accepts a deposit on a construction project, then fails to perform the work or refund the deposit.
- Theft by Extortion
- Theft by Unlawful Taking or Disposition
- Theft of Property Lost, Mislaid or Delivered by Mistake — An individual who comes into control of property of another that he or she knows to have been lost or mislaid may face a criminal charge under certain circumstances.
- Internet Theft
- Robbery/Armed Robbery — If a person, while committing a theft, threatens to injure or causes bodily harm, the person may be charged with robbery. In New Jersey, robbery is typically charged as a second-degree felony, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $150,000, upon conviction. When charged with a serious crime such as robbery, the experience of the defense attorney you choose can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
Defenses to Theft Charges
Our attorneys seek to resolve charges without a trial when possible. If a prosecutor refuses to agree to a fair resolution, we will be prepared to seek justice in a Passaic County courtroom. The legal defenses we may use against theft charges include:
- Inability of prosecution to establish ownership of property in question
- Failure to establish defendant’s possession of property or knowledge that property was stolen
- False value assigned to the property
- Lack of intention to permanently deprive owner of use of property
- Entrapment, or coercion by another person to commit the alleged theft.
- Mental impairment that prevented understanding of right versus wrong at the time of the alleged theft.
How Our Passaic Attorney Can Help You Fight Theft Charges
Any person facing theft charges has a legal right to an aggressive legal defense that challenges the prosecution’s case. The sooner our defense attorneys start investigating your case, the more quickly we can gather evidence to support your account of what really happened and point out the flaws in the prosecution’s case. Prosecutors typically only hear the police version of what occurred. Our attorneys will fight for your rights and seek a resolution to your case that preserves your liberty and protects your future.
Our attorneys will investigate to determine whether the case involved police or prosecutorial misconduct, such as:
- Illegal search
- Illegal seizure
- Mistaken identify
- Faulty suspect lineup
- Racial, ethnic, gender or other bias
- Fabricated evidence
- Faulty forensic testing
Theft cases often involve the word of one person against another onissues such as property ownership; transfer of ownership, or whether there was implied consent to borrow property.
In certain cases, it may be possible to make some form of restitution to the alleged victim of a theft and convince them to drop the charges. There are many chances to have theft charges reduced to a lesser offense or dismissed.
Based on our decades of experience in courtrooms across New Jersey and established professional relationships, our attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan Marshall can immediately start negotiating with the prosecutors’ office to have theft charges reduced or dismissed. Our attorneys are skilled negotiators. They understand from experience how to structure the terms of a proposed plea agreement that a prosecutor will find acceptable.
If you do not have a prior record, we may be able to arrange a plea that provides for Conditional Discharge probation or Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI), which may be appropriate for certain nonviolent first-offenders.
Active military members and veterans accused of theft crimes who have been diagnosed with mental illness or who have displayed signs of mental illness to police, family members or friends may be eligible for the N.J. Veterans’ Diversion program. That allows participants who successfully complete the program to avoid trial and a criminal record.
About Our Passaic County Criminal Defense Firm
Our experienced legal team at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is committed to providing a vigorous defense for all individuals who face criminal charges, including charges of theft and auto theft. Our attorneys approach each case from the perspective of having handled cases as prosecutors, public defenders and defense attorneys. We use our knowledge of the New Jersey justice system to seek the best resolutions for our clients in Passaic County facing theft charges.
If you or a family member has been accused or charged with any type of theft crime in Passaic County, please visit our office in Wayne at 73 Mountainview Blvd., or call us today to discuss your legal options. Our Passaic County criminal defense lawyers are available by e-mail. Our initial case reviews and consultations are always free. We’re glad to answer your questions so that you can make a well-informed decision about how to proceed.