The Law: Theft is Shoplifting and Shoplifting is Theft
H. Scott Aalsberg, Esq., P.C.
Attorneys at Law
Main Office: 39 Milltown Road 2nd Floor, East Brunswick, N.J. 08816
1028 Route #23 North, Wayne, N.J. 07470
1-800-9-RIGHTS or (732) 257-5040 Free Consultation
                      NJ Theft Penalties and Laws
Theft is the taking, using, destroying, hiding or transferring of another persons
property.  
Shoplifting and theft are considered the same offense.  Except that in
New Jersey Shoplifting carries an additional penalty of mandatory community
Service.  This however does not mean that you cannot get community service
as part of your sentence for theft, just that the law does not require the judge to
impose community service as he must on a shoplifting offender.
 Why does
shoplifting contain this additional penalty of community service and is thus considered worse than
regular stealing (theft)?  The answer to this question is unknown, however, it may be because of the
lobbying efforts by stores on the NJ legislature to enact tougher penalties to combat the recent
growing increase in shoplifting.  

Regardless of the reason if you are charged with shoplifting or theft you face the possibility of going to
jail as outlined below.  Only an experienced criminal lawyer can help you reduce or eliminate this
penalty and win your case.  Unlike other firms our office has handled over 8000 cases in the Superior
and Municipal Courts of the State of New Jersey.  We offer all individuals charged with theft or
shoplifting a free in office consultation with an experienced shoplifting/theft lawyer.  Call 1-800-974-
4487 today and set up your free consultation.  The sooner we start working on your case the better the
chance of achieving the best result for you.  Put Attorney H Scott Aalsberg's 20 years of experience
and 98% success rate to work for you.  In your free consultation we will discuss how we can help you
win the theft or shoplifting charges you are facing.  The call is free but the results can be priceless.     

Types of Theft

NJ Theft charges/offenses are categorized in four different degrees depending on the amount
alleged to have been unlawfully taken as indicated below.  The charge of Theft (2C:20-1) can be
anything from theft of property,
shoplifting (2C:20-11), receiving stolen property (2C:20-7)
theft by deception (2C:20-4), theft of services (2C:20-8),  fraud, writing bad checks, credit card
theft, or any means in which a person tricks, fools, extorts (2C:20-5) a person to part with property
under a false pretense or assumption.  Below please find the penalties for all theft offenses in New
Jersey:






New Jersey Theft Charge, Second Degree (2nd Degree) Crime

Sentence: Up to 10 years in prison.  Ordinary Terms: Jail 7 to 10 years, Fines and Probation

A theft charge is a second degree crime if the value of the items are worth $75,000 or more or if:
•The property is taken by extortion;
•The property stolen is a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog and the quantity is in
excess of one kilogram;
•The property stolen is a person's benefits under federal or State law, or from any other source, which the
Department of Human Services or an agency acting on its behalf has budgeted for the person's health care
and the amount involved is $75,000 or more; or
•The property stolen is human remains or any part thereof.


New Jersey Theft Charge and Penalties: Third degree (3rd Degree) Crime

Sentence: Up to 5 years in Jail.  Ordinary Terms: 3 to 5 years in Jail, Fines and Probation

A theft charge is a third degree crime if the value of the items are worth more than $500, but not more
than $75,000 or if:
•The property stolen is a firearm (gun, rifle, pistol), or a motor vehicle, vessel, boat, horse, domestic
companion animal or airplane;
•The property stolen is a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog and the
amount involved is less than $75,000.00 or is undetermined and the quantity is one kilogram or less;
•It is in breach of an obligation by a person in his capacity as a fiduciary;
•It is by threat not amounting to extortion;
•It is of a public record, writing or instrument kept, filed or deposited according to law with or in the
keeping of any public office or public servant;
•The property stolen is a person's benefits under federal or State law, or from any other source,
which the Department of Human Services or an agency acting on its behalf has budgeted for the
person's health care and the amount involved is less than $75,000;
•The property stolen is any real or personal property related to, necessary for, or derived from
research, regardless of value, including, but not limited to, any sample, specimens and components
thereof, research subject, including any warm-blooded or cold-blooded animals being used for
research or intended for use in research, supplies, records, data or test results, prototypes or
equipment, as well as any proprietary information or other type of information related to research;
•The property stolen is a New Jersey Prescription Blank as referred to in; or
•The property stolen consists of an access device or a defaced access device.
•Improper Use of Credit Card also may be charged as a 4th Degree Offense see below.


New Jersey Theft Charge and Penalties: Fourth degree (4th Degree) Crime

Sentence: Up to 18 Months in Jail, Fines and Probation

Theft is a crime of the fourth degree if  the value of the items are worth more than $200, but not more than
$500 or if the theft is by means of a credit card in which case the crime could be a third degree crime
depending on how charged by the police and prosecutor.

Examples of credit card theft include: having two or more credit cards in your possession that have names
other than your own even if the cards are never used.  Using a card that has someone else’s name on it ,
creating a false credit card, to use a credit card even though the account has been closed, or to sign a credit
card when the signer is not the named person on the credit card.

In NJ Credit card theft is a specific form of a theft crime that is unrelated to the "value" of the theft.

New Jersey Theft Charge and Penalties - Disorderly Persons Charge

Sentence: Up to 6 Months in Jail, Fines, Probation

A theft charge is classified as a disorderly persons charge (considered a misdemeanor in most states)
under New Jersey law if the amount involved is under $200.  However please note that this will be
marked on the NCIC database as a criminal offense even though it is not considered a criminal
offense in the State of New Jersey and as such employers are free to consider a person charged with
a disorderly person offense a criminal.
98% Success Rate of Winning
Reducing or Eliminating the Penalties
on All Theft and Shoplifting Charges
Fact:
72% of all state court offenders were sentenced to
jail and only 28% were sentenced to probation
without jail.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice.  
Don't Become A Statistic!  Put our 98% Success Rate to work for you!
98% Success Rate of
Winning
Reducing
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