If you tampered with your NJNG gas line or tried to avoid paying a contractor’s bill, you may be greeted by police and served with a summons complaint for theft of services in Ocean County. These charges were promulgated under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-8 and cover a wide variety of service-related thefts. Depending on the value of the services involved, you may be dealing with a second degree indictable felony offense at the Ocean County Superior Court or a disorderly persons offense at the Seaside Heights, Toms River or Brick Township Municipal Court.
If you or a family member were arrested and charged with any shoplifting, theft by deception, extortion or theft of services, contact our Ocean County trial attorneys to schedule a free consultation today. We have handled thousands of criminal matters throughout Ocean County and have the resources necessary to assist you with your case. Our firm can be reached 24/7 at 848-238-2100.
“A person is guilty of theft if he or she purposely obtains services which he knows are available only for compensation, by deception or threat, or by false token, slug, or other means, including but not limited to mechanical or electronic devices or through fraudulent statements, to avoid payment for the service.”
Under this section of the statute, the Ocean County Prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt:
That the defendant purposely obtained a service;
That the defendant knew the services were available only for compensation;
That the defendant obtained the services by deception (or threat, or by a false token, etc.); and
That the defendant’s purpose was to avoid payment.
Under New Jersey Law, an individual acts “purposely” with respect to the nature of his/her conduct or a result thereof if it is his/her conscious object to engage in conduct of that nature or to cause such a result. A person acts purposely with respect to attendant circumstances if he/she is aware of the existence of such circumstances or he/she believes or hopes that they exist.
“Services” include labor, professional service, transportation, telephone (including using, selling, or possessing a computer to deprive a telephone company of its charges), or other public service, accommodation in hotels, restaurants or elsewhere, entertainment, admissions to exhibitions and use of vehicles or other movable property.
“By a false token” refers to any false document or sign of the existence of a fact, in general, used for the purposes of fraud. It is a device used to obtain money by false pretenses. For example, the use of a slug is use “by a false token.” A slug is an object or article which by virtue of its size, shape, or any other quality is capable of being inserted or deposited in a coin, currency, or credit card activated machine as an improper substitute for money.
“A person commits theft if, having control over the disposition of services of another, to which he or she is not entitled, he knowingly diverts such services to his or her own benefit or to the benefit of another not entitled hereto.”
Under subsection (b) of the theft of services statute, the prosecutor must demonstrate the following:
That the defendant had control over the disposition of the services;
That the defendant was not entitled to the services (nor was the recipient if other than defendant);
That the defendant diverted services of another to his/her own benefit or to the benefit of another; and
That the defendant did so knowingly.
The same definition for “services” that applies to subsection (a), applies to subsection (b).
Additionally, there a variety of less common service theft charges under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-8(c) through N.J.S.A. 2C:20-8(i) that involve theft of services such as utilities, cable, telecommunications and software.
Penalties for Theft of Services Toms River NJ
A conviction for theft of services will carry a penalty that varies depending on the value of the services stolen.
Second Degree Theft of Services: When the value of the services exceeds $75,000.00, the court may impose a maximum term of incarceration of 10 years, a $150,000 fine plus restitution, probation, felony record and community service.
Third Degree Theft of Services: When the value of the services is less than $75,000 but exceeds $500, the court may impose a maximum term of incarceration of 5 years, a $15,000 fine plus restitution, probation, felony record and community service.
Fourth Degree Theft of Services: When the value of the services is less than $500 but exceeds $500, the court may impose a maximum term of incarceration of 18 months, a $10,000 fine plus restitution, probation, a felony record and community service.
Disorderly Persons Theft of Services: When the value of the services does not exceed $200, the court may impose a maximum term of incarceration of 6 months, a $1,0000 fine plus restitution, probation, criminal record and community service.
Depending on your prior criminal history and the severity of your allegations, you may be eligible and well-suited for a Diversionary Program such as Pretrial Intervention (PTI) or Conditional Dismissal.
Theft of Services Attorney Jackson NJ
The criminal justice system has shown itself to be a complicated and difficult beast for first-time offenders. The Ocean County criminal defense attorneys at our firm have defending clients against theft-related charges involving shoplifting and robbery on countless occasions. We treat every client and every case differently as each case and client deserve a particular kind of care. We will coordinate a defense strategy with you or your family and make ourselves easily accessible to you during this process. Call our office today at 848-238-2100.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. All major credit cards are accepted.