Theft By Deception
Hamilton NJ Theft by Deception Lawyer
If you have been charged with or arrested for theft by deception then it is important that you hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer. The penalties can be severe and depend on the amount of money or merchandise allegedly stolen or taken. For example, if the amount is below $200.00 then the offense is known as a disorderly persons offense which is punishable by up to 6 months in county jail. When the amount is valued at more than $200.00 but less than $500.00 it is a 4th degree felony which is punishable by up to 18 months in state prison. Third degree theft by deception will be charged where the amount of merchandise or money allegedly taken is between $500.00 and $75,000.00 and a conviction of which will result in 3 – 5 years state prison. Any amount over $75,000.00 is a 2nd degree crime of theft by deception which is punishable by mandatory state prison which can range from 5 – 10 years. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall represents clients throughout Mercer County and surrounding areas including West Windsor, Hamilton, Lawrenceville, Trenton, Robbinsville, Hopewell, East Windsor, Princeton and Ewing.
New Jersey Theft Criminal Laws
In order for a criminal complaint or indictment for Theft by Deception to be valid, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4 requires: (1) that property was obtained by the accused; (2) the property was obtained by deception; (3) the accused intended to deceive the victim; and (4) there was some economic gain or loss which resulted. In proving the first element, the State must rely upon the statutory definition of “obtain” which is defined as bringing about a transfer of a legal interest in property. The second element requires proof that it was the defendant’s purpose or conscious objective to create a false impression in order to obtain the property. Finally, the State must show that the victim believed the defendant and parted with his or her property based upon the defendant’s deceptions. If the relinquishment of the property was not based upon such reliance, this final element cannot be proved and the defendant must be found not guilty.
This means that theft by deception may occur by a number of means. The defendant can either create or reinforce a false impression including a false impression as to the law, value, intention or other state of mind. It is possible to deceive by statements that are literally true but misleading because necessary qualifications are omitted. However, it should be noted that mere failure to correct a false impression is not a reinforcement. An example of reinforcement of a false impression is where the seller is about to sell what he believes to be costume jewelry. The buyer, however, knows that one of the items is a valuable diamond and affirmatively represents to the seller that he has examined the stones and can confirm that they are only glass. Moreover, it should be noted that false statements about matters that have no pecuniary significance that result in an exchange of money is not a theft by deception. An example of this would be a representation by a salesman about his political or religious beliefs.
Lawrence NJ Theft By Deception Attorney
Theft by deception under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4 is frequently charged as a companion offense in a bad check case under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-5 or an indictable credit card fraud charge under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6. However, a conviction for attempted theft by deception merges with a conviction for forgery. If you have been charged with a theft by deception charge it is important that you know your rights and options. To speak with one of our lawyers about representation for your case contact us at (609) 683-8102 for a free consultation over the phone or schedule an appointment at our Princeton office.
We serve clients throughout Mercer County, New Jersey — including Trenton, Hamilton, Princeton Borough, West Windsor, East Windsor, Lawrence Township, Robbinsville, Hightstown, Princeton Township, Ewing and Hopewell — and surrounding areas, including Hunterdon County and Burlington County.