Theft Defense Lawyers for Receiving Stolen Property in Ocean County, New Jersey
Pursuant to New Jersey State law, the receipt of stolen property is viewed as an act that supports and encourages the original criminal acts of theft and burglary. As a result, state prosecutors take the crime of receiving stolen property very seriously. The statute outlining this offense is quite broad, and therefore these charges are often riddled with legal issues. In some cases, unknowing and seemingly innocent people are charged with receiving stolen property. As a result, it is vital to seek out and retain the representation of an experienced criminal defense attorney who will diligently and competently litigate and argue on your behalf. Will Proetta Esq., our founding attorney, has represented clients on a wide array of criminal and municipal charges throughout New Jersey. If you or your loved one has been arrested for receiving stolen property in Lakewood, Barnegat, Bayville, Forked River, Beachwood, Long Beach Township, Pine Beach, or Ocean Gate, then contact our office, conveniently located in Toms River, to set up a free initial consultation with a criminal defense lawyer at (848) 238-2100.
2C:20-7 New Jersey Receiving Stolen Property Law
The New Jersey statute for receiving stolen property is listed below, in pertinent part, for your convenience.
§ 2C:20-7 Receiving Stolen Property
a. Receiving. A person is guilty of theft if he knowingly receives or brings into this State movable property of another knowing that it has been stolen, or believing that it is probably stolen. It is an affirmative defense that the property was received with purpose to restore it to the owner. “Receiving” means acquiring possession, control or title, or lending on the security of the property.
Elements of Receiving Stolen Property
1) The defendant received or transported property of another; and 2) The defendant acted knowingly when he or she received or transported the movable property of another; and finally 3) The defendant either knew that the property had been stolen or had reason to believe that it was stolen at the time he or she either received it.
NJ 2C:20-7 Receiving Stolen Property Grading
The grading of a charge for receiving stolen property is based on the value of the property that was unlawfully taken. The more expensive the property, the higher the grading and degree of the charge. The guidelines for grading theft crimes, such as receiving stolen property, are found under the New Jersey statute 2C:20-11 and are as follows.
Second Degree Felony: property valued at $75,000 or more
Third Degree Felony: property valued at $500 – $75,000
Fourth Degree Felony: property valued at $200 – $500
Disorderly Persons Offense: property valued at $200 or less
If you are charged with second degree, third degree, or fourth degree receiving stolen property, your case will be handled in the county superior court. This means that the prosecutor will first need to get a grand jury to issue an indictment against you, after which the case can move forward and may be scheduled for trial before a judge and ultimately determined as to guilt or innocence by a jury. By contrast, a disorderly persons charge for receiving stolen property is handled in the local municipal court in the city or town where you allegedly received the stolen property. These cases are heard by a municipal court judge at trial. Additionally, the penalties for a felony charge in superior court are far more severe than the penalties for a disorderly persons charge in municipal court.
How Bad is the Penalty for Receiving Stolen Property in New Jersey?
Since receiving stolen property is technically a theft offense, the penalties for receiving stolen property are typically determined by the retail value of the items that were stolen. This makes sense, since most theft offenses, such as shoplifting and theft of movable property, also have their penalties determined by the retail value of what was stolen. Basically, the more expensive the property, the more severe the penalties will be if you are convicted or plead guilty to the charges. Of course, the most concerning penalty in a receiving stolen property case is likely to be the prison or jail time that could be imposed by the judge. Another common penalty in these cases is a monetary fine. The exact range of penalties for receiving stolen property in New Jersey is set forth in the statute as follows:
$75,000 or more: 5-10 years in prison and $150,000 fine
$500 – $75,000: 3-5 years in prison and $15,000 fine
$200 – $500: up to 18 months in prison and $10,000 fine
$200 or less: up to 6 months in jail and $1,000 fine
For anyone accused of receiving stolen property with a total value of less than $75,000, it is unlikely that prison or jail time will be required because there is no presumption of incarceration for non-violent theft offenses graded as third degree felonies or lower. However, if you are convicted of receiving stolen property valued at more than $75,000, it is more likely that you will have to serve time in prison because these kinds of charges have a presumption of incarceration. Moreover, even a third degree or fourth degree receiving stolen property charge could result in prison time, depending on the circumstances of the case. For instance, some aggravating factors would be if you have prior convictions or if other crimes were committed along with the receiving stolen property offense. Now, this is not to say that you can’t avoid prison for any degree of receiving stolen property charge. If it is your first offense, a criminal lawyer who knows how to handle these cases may even be able to demonstrate that you’re a good candidate for PTI, which stands for Pre-Trial Intervention. Our lawyers have been able to do this in even the most serious cases for 2nd degree charges, by successfully demonstrating why you should be allowed to overcome the presumption.
Lacey NJ Receiving Stolen Property Lawyers
It is the experience of our attorneys that receiving stolen property charges are most commonly third degree charges and heard in Ocean County Superior Court. Our lawyers will work with the prosecutor to achieve downgraded charges or dismissed, or to secure admittance into a diversion program such as Pre-Trial Intervention. Diversion programs allow a defendant to have all charges dismissed upon successful completion. If a plea agreement is not possible, then we are prepared to capably and aggressively litigate on your behalf. We represent clients charged with the theft and receiving stolen property throughout New Jersey including Seaside Park, Waretown, Little Egg Harbor, Mantoloking, New Egypt, Lakehurst, and Manchester. Contact our conveniently located Toms River office today at (848) 238-2100 to speak with an experienced receiving stolen property lawyer who will build a customized case strategy designed to meet your needs.
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