Theft by Deception

Hamilton NJ Theft by Deception Defense Attorneys

Local Lawyer for Theft by Deception Charge in TrentonA  conviction for a theft offense, whether it be theft by deception, receiving stolen property, theft of services, shoplifting or embezzlement can significantly affect one’s future. It could not only send an individual to a State Prison for up to (10) years but it could also cripple an individual’s ability to maintain or gain meaningful employment.  If you have been charged with theft by deception in Mercer County, it is imperative that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your options. Like all other theft offenses, the degree of theft by deception that a Defendant is charged with will depend directly on the value of the items in question. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4, theft by deception can either be a second, third or fourth degree felony or even a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor). One other thing to keep in mind is that based on the new bail guidelines, which came into effect in 2017, a Defendant charged with a criminal offense, like theft by deception, may be forced to defend themselves at a detention hearing. At a detention hearing the prosecution will be attempting to convince a judge that you must be detained in the Mercer County Jail without bail pending trial. Therefore, it is imperative to speak to an experienced Mercer County criminal defense attorney immediately about your options.

Proetta & Oliver is an experienced Mercer County criminal defense firm. We defend clients accused of various criminal offenses, including theft by deception, robbery, burglary, shoplifting, terroristic threats, aggravated assault and money laundering. Our attorneys are ready and willing to fight to protect your rights. If you would like to come into our office for a free initial consultation, then please contact us directly at (609)789-0779. We defend clients charged with theft by deception in the Mercer County Superior Courthouse, the Lawrence Municipal Court, the Princeton Municipal Court, the Hamilton Municipal Court, the East Windsor Municipal Court and the Trenton Municipal Court.

Theft by Deception Attorneys in Trenton NJ

Charged with a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4 in NJ?

Theft by deception is a rather common offense issued in Mercer County. Theft by deception is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4. In order to be convicted of theft by deception, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt three material elements, they are as follows:

  • That the Defendant took possession of the victim’s property;
  • The Defendant purposely used some form of deception to gain possession of the victim’s property; &
  • The victim relied upon the Defendant’s deception when turning over the property.

What Qualifies as Deception?

Typically, the key to defending a client accused of theft by deception is discrediting what the State claims was deceptive. Some of the most common deceptions alleged are:

  • When a Defendant creates a false impression;
  • When a Defendant purposely fails to correct a false impression; &
  • When a Defendant purposely prevents the victim from learning information that would have affected their decision to part with the property.

If the State is alleging that the Defendant made a false statement in an effort to deceive the victim, they must also prove that the Defendant knew the statement was false at the time they made it.  So as you can tell, deception is a rather vague term and as such allows an experienced criminal defense attorney an avenue to attack.  If you have been arrested and charged with theft by deception and would like to speak to one of our attorneys about your options then please contact us at (609)789-0779.

What are the Penalties for Theft By Deception in NJ?

As touched upon above, theft by deception can either be a second, third, fourth degree felony or a disorderly persons offense. The difference between the degree could be the difference between a Defendant receiving a probationary sentence and a ten year New Jersey State Prison Sentence. Here is a complete breakdown in not only the degrees but the potential penalties as well.

  • Second Degree Felony: Property Value was in excess of $75,000
    • Five to ten years in a New Jersey State Prison;
    • A fine up  to a $150,000;
    • Felony Criminal Record.
  • Third Degree Felony: Property Value was in excess of $500 but less than $75,000
    • Three to five years in a New Jersey State Prison;
    • A fine up to $15,000;
    • Felony Criminal Record.
  • Fourth Degree Felony: Property Value was in excess of $200 but less than $500
    • Up to 18 Months in a New Jersey State Prison;
    • A fine up to $10,000;
    • Felony Criminal Record.
  • Disorderly Persons Offense: Property Value was less than $200
    • Up to 6 Months in the Mercer County Jail;
    • A fine up to $1,000;
    • Criminal Record.

Can I Avoid Jail on Theft by Deception Charges in NJ?

With that being said, New Jersey has created several diversionary programs that may allow for a Defendant to forgo any prison time and in some cases keep them without a criminal record as well. Those programs include the Pretrial Intervention Program, the Conditional Dismissal Program and Drug Court. For more information on these programs, please contact our office at (609)789-0779.  

Theft by Deception Lawyer in Princeton NJ

Being charged with a criminal offense can be terrifying but hiring the right attorney can go a long way alleviating some of that stress. If you have been charged with a criminal offense like theft, burglary, heroin possession, cocaine distribution, assault by auto or endangering the welfare of a child in Mercer County, the Law Offices of Proetta & Oliver can help. We serve all of Mercer County, including towns like West Windsor, Trenton, Ewing, Hopewell, Lawrence and Robbinsville. If you would like to schedule a free consultation today then please contact us at (609)789-0779.