Facing Theft Charges in Clark NJ
December 24, 2020
Have you been charged with a theft crime in Clark, New Jersey? If so, you need a zealous defense representative with the know-how and practical experience to best resolve your case. The town of Clark is a tightly knit community. However, Clark sees its fair share of crimes just like everywhere else in New Jersey. In fact, in 2018, this location was believed to have a higher crime rate than 24% of other cities or towns throughout the United States. Clark has a reportedly higher crime rate than such nearby towns as Garwood, Cranford, Westfield, Roselle Park, and Scotch Plains but has a lower crime rate than its larger counterparts Linden, Roselle, and Rahway. Theft crimes contribute to this percentage as this category of criminal offenses encompasses various types of conduct. In fact, the extent to which property crimes contribute to the overall crime rate has risen in the last several years. Theft crimes under Title 2C chapter 20 can be filed as disorderly persons offenses or indictable crimes. The subsections of theft found in this area of New Jersey law designate punishment consistent with the degree of the crime and level of culpability, which is often tied to the value of the property involved. Despite the variability among distinct types of theft, all of these charges center on the deprivation or receipt of another’s property at the hands of the defendant with intent and without authorization.
Skilled Lawyers Defending Clients Charged with Theft Offenses in Clark Township NJ
If you are facing theft accusations in Clark Township, learn more about the particular type of theft crime that applicable to your case, the consequences of a conviction based on the grading of the offense, and more details about how theft charges are handled in Clark and Union County courts. To get answers and advice from a knowledgeable Clark theft defense lawyer who is familiar with all manner of theft charges and the nuances of these cases, call our local criminal law office at (908)-838-0150. A member of our team is available to assist you immediately and the consultation is provided at no cost.
Clark NJ Theft Crimes
All acts involving theft that are considered criminal in nature are delineated in Title 2C. This section of law clearly sets forth what conduct is a crime, what must be proven to be found guilty of the crime, and what punishment can be allotted for the commission of the crimes. Theft crimes found in Chapter 20 of this title include offenses often committed on smaller scales, such as shoplifting to those committed on larger scales, such as computer crimes or dealing in stolen merchandise.
Below is a list of theft-related crimes and examples found in the penal code:
- N.J.S.A 2C:20-3. Theft by unlawful taking or disposition. This is by far one of the most commonly charged theft offenses that leads to people being arrested. It includes the taking of tangible property, such as stealing a car, as well as intangible property, like stealing or forging the title to the car and selling it.
- N.J.S.A 2C:20-7. Receiving Stolen Property. This offense is often charged when the police cannot prove that you stole the item in question but that you had a good idea that the item was stolen. For instance, perhaps you bought a $30,000 car for $1,000, in which case you may be hard pressed to argue you had no idea it was stolen.
- N.J.S.A 2C:20-11. Shoplifting. This charge refers to theft from retailers. If you go to ShopRite or Target on Central Ave, or maybe Walgreens at Central Plaza and take something for sale without paying the full amount, you can be charged with this offense. Further, if you are the leader of a shoplifting ring, you face enhanced penalties under 2C:20-11.2.
- N.J.S.A. 2C:20-2.6. Theft from a Cargo Carrier. Clark is close to Port Carteret which is an industrial area on the Arthur Kill that connects the Port to other major routes like the New Jersey Turnpike. If you are involved with taking any goods from cargo carriers (trucks, boats,any transport), you could be charged with this offense if you take those items and store them for resale.
- N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7.1. Fencing. This crime is closely related to the above offense of selling stolen goods. If you are found selling the goods that fell off the back of the proverbial truck that was diverted off of exit 12 from the Turnpike, you may be facing charges for violating this statute.
- N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11. Unlawful Taking Means of Conveyance. This applies when one or more people take another’s car without permission and with the intention of using it, not keeping it indefinitely. We often refer to it as “joyriding” and it commonly occurs between individuals who know each other. Additional penalties ensue if you recruited the help of juveniles in taking any motor vehicle.
- N.J.S.A. 2C:20-2-3. Theft from gravesites such as those in Saint Mary’s cemetery is just as it sounds. You may face these charges for taking items from a gravesite like a stone, flag, or marker.
- N.J.S.A 2C:20-2. Consolidation of theft and computer related theft offenses. Computer theft cases are increasingly problematic, as you can be charged for each individual act associated therewith. For example, you can be charged with individual theft offenses if you repeatedly steal computer information on separate dates from the PNC or Providence Banks on Raritan Road in Clark Commons.
- N.J.S.A 2C:20-8. Theft of services. This crime is alleged when you fail to pay for services rendered i.e. jumping the turnstile, sneaking in the movies without paying, dining and dashing from Applebee’s on Raritan Road, or generally receiving services you did not pay for.
- N.J.S.A 2C:20-9. Theft by failure to make required disposition of property received. This may occur when someone receives a package that does not belong to him or her. During the holiday season, packages are delivered every day and if you keep that 60 inch flat screen tv that you know you did not order, you can be charged with a crime.
- N.J.S.A. 2C:20-13. Concealing library materials. As comical as it may sound, if it is determined that you concealed library materials at the Clark Public Library on Westfield Avenue, it will be presumed that you intended to commit a theft.
- N.J.S.A. 2C:20-6. Theft of Property Lost, Mislaid, or Stolen. Hypothetically, if you went to Oak Ridge Park off of Oak Ridge Road, and found a wallet on the bench with $500 inside, you cannot keep it. If you take this property, you could be charged with this offense. Clearly, the wallet did not belong to you and it was “lost or mislaid” by someone other than you.
- N.J.S.A. 2C:20-5. Extortion. Unlike theft of lost or mislaid property, extortion involves violence or threat in obtaining someone else’s property. This is generally a more severe crime.
The above is by no means an exhaustive list of theft-related offenses. There are others that are closely related to theft offenses and set forth under other sections of the criminal code. For example, theft of credit cards, identity theft, withdrawal of bank funds, forgery, bad check charges, burglary, and robbery are all variations of theft in some manner or another.
Levels of Theft Charges & Consequences in Clark NJ
As with any crime, there are potential penalties that may be exacted upon those found guilty. The punishment depends on the degree of the charge. In theft cases generally, the degree of offense depends on the amount alleged to have been stolen. Notable exceptions include extortion, computer crimes, robbery, burglary, and several others. For the most part, thefts are charged as:
- Second degree crimes: $75,000 or more
- Third degree crimes: $500-$75,000
- Fourth degree crimes: $200-$500; and
- Disorderly persons offenses: less than $200
Upon a finding of guilt for a misdemeanor (disorderly persons offense) theft in Clark, the judge has the option of sending you to jail for 6 months and can order you to pay a fine of $1,000 on top of restitution payments.
For indictable theft crimes heard in the Union County Superior Court, Criminal Division, sentencing ranges are as follows:
- 5-10 years in New Jersey State Prison and $150,000 in fines for a second degree;
- 3-5 years in New Jersey State Prison and $15,000 in fines for a third degree;
- 18 months in New Jersey State Prison and $10,000 in fines for a fourth degree
Aside from the above penalties, you could be ordered to pay back the amount that was lost by the alleged victim. This is known as restitution. In addition to the fines and restitution, the law allows for victims, such as store owners and bank account holders, to go after you in civil court.
Where is Court Handled for a Theft Charge in Clark Township?
Court proceedings for theft crimes are distinguished by indictable offenses heard in Union County Superior Court, or disorderly persons charges, handled in Clark Municipal Court, which is located in the town at 315 Westfield Avenue. In Superior or Municipal Court, you will have a first appearance and will be notified of the charges. Thereafter, the court may require your appearance several more times before the matter is resolved or tried. Sometimes, you can resolve your case by way of agreement. Other times, your eligibility for a program like conditional dismissal or Pre-Trial Intervention provides an avenue toward dismissal. Still more, some theft cases have critical issues and vulnerabilities on the prosecution’s side, which can be aggressively litigated to get the charges dismissed.
Look for Experience in a Clark NJ Theft Lawyer
If you have been charged with theft of any kind in Clark, NJ, hire an attorney that knows the area, understands the courts, and equally important, is dedicated to protecting your rights and interest throughout the process. The attorneys at our Union County criminal law firm are available to offer you more tailored information by calling our office at (908)-838-0150. Consulting with us about your particular theft case is free so please call today if you are looking for legal counsel.