Table of Contents
Counterfeiting charges in New Jersey can be applied to manufacture, possession and distribution of fake currency or a variety of other phony trademarks and products, such as name-brand clothing and accessories, pharmaceuticals, or personal electronics. Counterfeiting is primarily known as a federal crime. But New Jersey courts will prosecute counterfeiting charges under state law, as well.
New Jersey counterfeiting penalties are based on the number and value of counterfeit items seized. The penalties may include imprisonment and fines of up to $500,000. Any indictment for counterfeiting must be met with a strong and knowledgeable legal defense if you are to stay out of prison.
For skilled legal defense, contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall as soon as possible if you face counterfeiting charges in New Jersey.
Our legal team can provide criminal defense representation backed by:
- 10 attorneys in law offices across the state dedicated solely to protecting the rights of individuals facing criminal charges
- Certified criminal trial attorneys, a distinction less than 2% of New Jersey lawyers can claim
- More than 200 years of combined experience litigating cases in courtrooms across New Jersey
- A team of former public defenders and prosecutors from across New Jersey formerly responsible for a Major Crimes Bureau, Guns Task Force, Special Operations Unit and Domestic Violence Unit, as well as an entire Trial Division
- Experience with white collar crimes and federal cases that has allowed our respected attorneys to develop professional relationships with prosecutors in U.S. District Courts in Trenton, Camden and Newark, N.J., in addition to county superior courts across the state
- A track record of countless trials ending in dismissal of charges against our clients.
Contact us if you are facing counterfeiting charges or have received notice that you are a target of a criminal investigation. Call us if you have questions about your business practices or concerns about connections to counterfeit goods or currency. An attorney from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can take quick action to help you, arguing for charges to be filed in New Jersey state courts instead of federal courts or communicating with a prosecutor before an indictment is issued.
If you face counterfeiting charges, set up a free, no-obligation meeting with one of our experienced New Jersey white collar crime attorneys as soon as you can.
New Jersey Counterfeiting Laws and Penalties
Counterfeiting charges usually apply to the intent to deceive or defraud some other person with false products or services. New Jersey’s statute refers to items or services “bearing or identified by a counterfeit mark,” such as a logo or trademark.
A counterfeit mark is one that is identical to or substantially indistinguishable from a genuine mark.
Counterfeiting involves intent to deceive by manufacturing, using, displaying, advertising, distributing, offering for sale, selling or possessing with intent to sell for money a counterfeit item or service that has a counterfeit mark within New Jersey.
Counterfeiting is often confused with forgery. Forgery charges typically apply to false documents used to defraud, such as bad checks, false identification cards (e.g., driver’s license or birth certificate), or illegitimate contracts.
Penalties for counterfeiting in New Jersey are based on the number of counterfeit items the defendant possessed, their retail value (if authentic) and previous charges of counterfeiting against the defendant. For a charge to be filed, the defendant must possess or have control of at least 25 items that are allegedly counterfeit.
A first counterfeiting offense involving fewer than 100 items and a total retail value of less than $1,000 is a fourth-degree offense punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
A second counterfeiting offense or an offense involving 100 or more items but fewer than 1,000 and a total retail value of $1,000 to less than $15,000 is a third-degree offense punishable by 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
A third or subsequent counterfeiting offense or an offense involving 1,000 items or more and a total retail value of $15,000 or more is a second-degree offense punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
In addition, the court will impose a fine of up to three times the retail value of the items or services involved.
The fine is limited to a maximum of:
- $100,000 upon conviction of a fourth-degree offense
- $250,000 upon conviction of a third-degree offense
- $500,000 upon conviction of a second-degree offense.
Federal punishment for white collar crimes is typically harsher than punishment at the state level. Local white collar crime investigators may bring in federal authorities in cases that involve large amounts of counterfeit products and money, a large number of people and/or activities across state lines, such as into New York, or across international borders.
Counterfeiting U.S. currency is always treated as a federal crime, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine.
We Can Help You Fight Counterfeiting Charges in New Jersey
If you know that you personally or your business is under investigation for manufacture, sale or distribution of counterfeit products, you should seek the help of an experienced New Jersey white collar crime defense attorney before you are formally charged. Our attorneys may be able to have an investigation closed before an indictment is handed down and made public. This is the best possible outcome and one that avoids a black mark against your business or personal reputation.
Once an indictment for counterfeiting has been handed down, unless you plead guilty, the prosecution must prove each element of the alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction. This includes proving intent to defraud and a monetary motive, as well as your possession or control of at least 25 allegedly counterfeit items.
It is not a crime, for example, to make a replica of a Yankees jersey, a T-shirt depicting your favorite rap artist or a designer handbag if you have no intention to sell it or to convince anyone that it is an authentic product of the organization or company that owns that trademark. You can outfit your family, your fraternity or any number of friends with homemade replicas of any existing commercial product as long as you do not try to pass them off as authentic.
Knockoff garments or accessories that look similar to a pre-existing design but do not utilize the original designer’s name, logo, or original print are not illegal if consumers are unlikely to confuse them with the original items that inspired them. They can be sold without intent to defraud.
In addition to lack of intent to defraud, potential defenses to a counterfeiting charge include:
- Lack of knowledge. Prosecutors must be able to prove you knew the items were counterfeit to prove intent to defraud. Crude copies that lack major identifying characteristics lend credence to the argument that they were not meant to deceive or defraud.
- Lack of possession. Prosecutors must be able to prove you had control over the allegedly counterfeit items. For example, allegedly counterfeit items found in the trunk of a car you were riding in but did not own were not necessarily in your control or possession.
A counterfeit charges defense lawyer from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can begin investigating the charges against you and the evidence in your case immediately upon being engaged as your legal counsel. We can seek to put an end to an improper prosecution based on false allegations and/or incorrect assessment of allegedly counterfeit items. As former prosecutors, we can quickly identify a weak case and proceed to rebut the prosecution’s allegations and evidence if you already face indictment.
Our defense strategy will depend on the facts of the counterfeiting case, the evidence against you and our ability to counter the most damaging aspects of the prosecution’s case.
If there has been wrongdoing, we will use evidence in your favor to negotiate reduced charges and punishment in exchange for your cooperation, if that is in your best interest. We will always advise you of any offers from prosecutors and of the pros and cons of any option available. This decision is always yours, and we are prepared to use our litigation skills and fight charges in court.
Have a NJ Counterfeiting Conviction Expunged
If you have previously been convicted of counterfeiting in New Jersey, you may qualify to have the charge and conviction expunged from your record. Expungement removes criminal records from public access, which means they will not show up in background checks.
Obtaining an order of expungement allows you to legally answer “No” to questions about arrests or criminal convictions on applications and in interviews for jobs, loans, scholarships, or gun permit applications.
If you have been convicted of only one indictable offense and do not face any pending criminal charges, New Jersey law allows you to petition for expungement of criminal records after a specified amount of time and if you have paid all fines, been released from incarceration and/or completed probation or parole satisfactorily.
The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can help you conduct the records search and prepare the detailed paperwork required to seek expungement of your New Jersey criminal records and guide you through other aspects of the process.
Contact Our New Jersey Counterfeit Crimes Defense Lawyers Today
At the first sign that you are under investigation for counterfeiting products, services or currency in New Jersey, you need to turn to a law firm experienced with handling white collar crimes to protect your rights and freedom. The New Jersey counterfeit crimes defense attorneys from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have decades of experience, as well as the skills and resources necessary to defend you and see your case through to the best possible resolution available to you.
Schedule a free consultation with our respected New Jersey counterfeiting crime defense attorneys today.