Burlington County Theft Defense Lawyers
New Jersey law addresses multiple types of theft crimes— burglary, robbery, auto theft, extortion, shoplifting. Each charge carries the potential for prison time and expensive fines upon conviction. In addition, being convicted of theft, or stealing establishes a criminal record that potential employers, loan officers, landlords, and others may hold against you for years to come.
If you have been arrested or indicted for theft in Burlington County, N.J., you should hire an experienced Mount Holly criminal defense lawyer to provide the legal representation necessary to give you the best chance of overcoming the charge and staying out of jail.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall offer aggressive and strategic criminal defense to help clients avoid unwarranted punishment for theft charges. We represent clients in Burlington County Superior Court in Mount Holly as well as in municipal courts serving Evesham, Florence, Pemberton, Medford, Delran, or other local townships. Our seasoned Burlington County defense team has:
- More than 200 years of combined legal experience defending individuals against theft-related offenses and other criminal charges across New Jersey
- 10 defense attorneys who only represent individuals facing criminal charges
- Certified criminal trial attorneys, a distinction less than 2% of New Jersey lawyers can claim
- Attorneys with backgrounds as former prosecutors and public defenders who have led local crime units, including a Major Crimes Bureau, Guns Task Force, Special Operations Unit and Domestic Violence Unit, as well as a Trial Division.
- A track record of countless trials ending in charges against our clients being dismissed
- 24/7 availability to secure your release from custody and to begin our investigation into the charges you face.
Our firm has a reputation for courtroom success based on criminal defense strategies that answer to our clients’ needs. Call us at (877) 450-8301 or fill out our online form now to talk with a Mount Holly criminal defense attorney from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall who has experience in Burlington County courts. We can review the charge against you and help you understand your legal options and how the strategic moves you make now may impact your future. Contact us now.
Theft Offenses and Penalties in Burlington County, New Jersey
Under New Jersey’s criminal code, “theft” is taking possession of or exercising unlawful control over someone else’s property without consent and with the intent to either permanently deprive the rightful owner of access to the property or to return the property only after receiving compensation to do so. It is also against the law to receive stolen property or to possess burglary tools.
Theft offenses in the New Jersey Criminal Code include an entire class of charges with penalties based on factors such as the amount of money or the value of the property involved and whether the alleged crime included an act of violence. Many theft charges are filed as second- or third-degree offenses, punishable by multiple years in prison and tens of thousands of dollars to more than $100,000 in fines.
For example, shoplifting may be charged as a disorderly persons offense (a “misdemeanor” in other states) if the retail value of merchandise allegedly stolen is less than $200. As the value of merchandise increases, the charge increases, with a second-degree offense charge available if the full retail value of merchandise allegedly stolen is $75,000 or more.
For another example, robbery, or theft by using physical force or threat of harm, is a crime of the second degree. Armed robbery with a gun or another weapon is a first-degree offense.
According to New Jersey law:
- A first-degree offense is punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $200,000.
- A second-degree offense is punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
- A third-degree offense is punishable by 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
- A fourth-degree offense is punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- A disorderly persons offense is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000.
Additionally, New Jersey’s No Early Release Act (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2) requires that when sentenced to prison for certain violent crimes – including robbery, burglary, carjacking, and extortion – the defendant must serve 85% of the prison sentence before becoming eligible for parole. After release from prison, supervised parole lasts 5 years for a first-degree crime and 3 years for a second-degree crime.
A disorderly persons offense, such as for petty shoplifting, will be heard in municipal court for the township where the crime allegedly occurred. More serious crimes are indictable offenses, which are heard in Burlington County Superior Court in Mount Holly.
Prosecutors are obligated to seek convictions for theft crimes, but the variance in punishments available usually provides room for an experienced attorney to negotiate for a lesser charge and/or sentence. These negotiations require a Mount Holly defense attorney who has the experience to understand what can be done for you legally and the local presence and relationships to negotiate a deal with Burlington County prosecutors. Without an experienced lawyer working for you, you can count on the prosecutor to seek the harshest sentence that the judge will hand down.
Theft and Civil Lawsuits in New Jersey
The alleged victims of a theft, such as the store charging shoplifting or a homeowner claiming a burglary, can file a civil lawsuit over monetary loss and/or for personal injuries suffered during the incident. A lawsuit may seek compensation for the cost to replace stolen items not recovered or that a store can no longer sell. The personal injury lawsuit may demand compensation for the cost of medical care, lost income during recovery or due to disabling injuries, and for pain and suffering and emotional distress.
In a lawsuit, the burden of proof is much lower than in a criminal case. The plaintiff has only to persuade a jury that they deserve to be compensated, and New Jersey has no limits on such compensatory awards.
A criminal conviction for the underlying crime is not necessary for a jury to side with the plaintiff in a civil lawsuit. While a conviction will surely weigh against the defendant, the ability to introduce a “not guilty” verdict into evidence or settlement negotiations will inevitably help.
Common Types of Theft Cases We Accept in Burlington County
Our attorneys are former prosecutors and public defenders who have been on both sides of the table for numerous theft and fraud cases in courtrooms across New Jersey. Over the last 25 years-plus, we have hand-picked this legal team to work exclusively as defense attorneys in local courts to obtain the best possible outcomes for clients.
The types of theft cases the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can assist with in Burlington County include:
- Car Theft / Carjacking
- Receiving Stolen Property
- Credit Card Fraud
- Check Fraud
- Passing Bad Checks
- Prescription Theft
- Obtaining Controlled Prescription Drugs by Fraud
- Identity Theft
- Theft of Services
- Theft by Deception
- Money Laundering.
To obtain the most favorable resolution to your case as allowed by New Jersey law, it is crucial to engage a criminal defense attorney experienced in Burlington County courts as soon as possible after being arrested for theft. Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall in Mount Holly today for a free consultation and prompt response to your legal needs.
How Our Burlington County Theft Defense Lawyers Can Help
You should never face theft charges alone, even for the most seemingly minor shoplifting charge. You should never plead guilty without your attorney’s advice to do so. A finding of guilt goes on your publicly available criminal record and can cost you job opportunities or education opportunities and make you ineligible for public housing. Like any defendant, you have the Constitutional right to a robust legal defense that challenges the prosecution’s case against you.
Without your guilty plea, prosecutors must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction on any theft charge filed against you. It is not uncommon for police to move forward with an arrest for theft without a clear understanding of the circumstances surrounding an alleged crime. Defendants charged with theft in Burlington County have charges dropped or reduced routinely.
A highly qualified attorney from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall will fight to achieve results in your case that have the least adverse impact on you and on your future. The sooner we are involved in your case, the better the opportunity to help you.
Once you have retained us as your defense lawyer, our team will launch an investigation of the charges against you. We will obtain statements from you and other witnesses. We will question the prosecution’s witnesses during pre-trial “discovery.” We will examine the evidence against you and argue for exclusion of disputable evidence from future proceedings in your case.
We will also work to uncover police or prosecutorial misconduct in your arrest or flaws in preparation of their case, such as:
- Illegal search and seizure
- Faulty suspect lineup / mistaken identity
- Witnesses who are not credible
- Faulty or fabricated testimony
- Faulty forensic testing (particularly regarding DNA evidence)
- Racial, ethnic, socio-economic, gender, sexual orientation, age or other bias.
Because of the years we have worked in Burlington County, our attorneys have the professional relationships necessary to reach out to prosecutors and negotiate for theft charges to be reduced as part of a plea agreement, if the facts support that. In some cases, it may be possible to make restitution to the alleged victim of a theft in exchange for dismissal of the charges. Our attorneys are skilled negotiators who know how to make such overtures when circumstances warrant.
In some cases, we can arrange a plea that leads to Conditional Discharge probation or Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI), programs meant to keep nonviolent first-offenders out of the prison system. New Jersey’s Veterans’ Diversion program allows active military members and retirees accused of nonviolent crimes to avoid trial in nonviolent cases if they have been diagnosed with mental illness or who have exhibited signs of mental illness witnessed by law enforcement, family members or friends.
We always prepare cases as if they will go to trial and, if necessary, will represent you with a stout defense. Potential defenses to charges of theft and fraud include:
- Inability to establish the defendant’s possession or control of the property in question
- Inability to establish ownership of the property in question
- Defendant’s valid claim of rights to the property
- Lack of intent to deprive the owner of the property, including lack of knowledge of ownership
- Entrapment, coercion or other inducement by another for the defendant to commit the alleged theft
- Mental impairment at the time of the alleged theft that prevented understanding of right vs. wrong or the consequences of the defendant’s actions
- Incorrect value assigned to property (for lesser charges).
There are usually at least two sides to theft charges regarding money or personal property. Disputes may center on rightful ownership, whether there was an agreement to transfer ownership, such as in a sale that was undocumented, or whether there was expressed or implied consent allowing someone to use or borrow property. Every aspect of the prosecution’s case against you should be held up to the light and questioned.
The sooner you get our Mount Holly legal team on your side, the sooner we can find the holes in the case against you. When Burlington County prosecutors know their case is not solid, they’ll be more likely to consider proposals for reducing or dropping charges so that justice is truly served.
They know the professionalism and reputation of the Law Offices of Johnathan F. Marshall attorneys.
Contact Our Burlington County, N.J., Theft Crime Defense Attorneys
At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our attorneys have over 200 years of combined experience defending New Jersey residents against criminal charges, including charges of robbery, fraud, extortion, shoplifting, car theft, and other kinds of theft. If you or a loved one faces theft charges filed in Burlington County, N.J., contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced theft and fraud defense attorney.
The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall will work hard to protect your rights and your freedom if you have been charged with theft. Contact us online as soon as possible about charges originating in Delran, Evesham, Florence, Medford, Mount Holly, Pemberton, or another Burlington County township. To speak to a lawyer from our team right away, call our Mount Holly office 24/7 at 877-450-8301.