Hunterdon County Theft and Fraud Lawyers
There are many varieties of theft and fraud related offenses that someone can face in Hunterdon County. The most common theft charges are theft by deception, credit card theft, burglary, robbery, shoplifting and receiving stolen property. Irrespective of the type of theft charged in your case, it is imperative that you enlist an experienced attorney because a conviction can severely impact your life.
A theft arrest can result in a disorderly persons offense or, as is more often the case, an indictable crime of the second degree, third degree or fourth degree. The penalties include a period of incarceration and significant fines. There is also a collateral consequence of having a criminal record for stealing, something that can be devastating to employment, efforts to maintain immigration status or gain a professional license. This is why selecting the right defense lawyers to defend your charge is so critical.
We are the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, a team of ten (10) criminal attorneys that represent clients charged with a wide range of Hunterdon County criminal offenses. Most of our staff are former prosecutors who have served in either the county prosecutor’s office or as a municipal prosecutor. They are accomplished in their profession with over 200 years of combined experience, including time serving as Director of Major Crimes, Special Operations, the entire Trial Division, Juvenile Division, even earning the rare distinction of being certified as criminal trial attorneys.
If you were arrested for burglary, theft by deception or another theft-related offense, an attorney is available to speak to you without obligation immediately. Do not make the mistake of thinking that the police are here to help you or remaining silent. Reach out to our Flemington Criminal Firm for the advice you need. We are available now at 908-824-0855.
Attorneys At Our Firm Are Ready To Fight Your Theft or Fraud Offense
The lawyers on our staff are committed to fighting until the best possible outcome is reached for those charged with theft and other crimes. While you might anticipate that every firm would be vested in your case, that simply isn’t our experience. It is unfortunately common for holes in a charge to be overlooked just to conclude a case quickly and maximize the return on a legal fee. This simply is not the situation with the attorneys here. We appreciate the responsibility that we undertake when some entrusts their future to us and take this extremely serious. We will fight until every defense is exhausted. Some of the areas that you can count on us focusing on are:
Immediately Intervening. The immediate aftermath of an arrest can be overwhelming and create downright chaos. Defendants are particularly vulnerable at this stage of a case so it is important that we intervene quickly. It is always a bad idea for someone to get into discussions with the police after being arrested yet individuals make statements and concessions that result in incrimination all the time. Our former prosecutors will make sure that efforts by police to take advantage of you are terminated immediately. They will also do everything possible to ensure that favorable evidence is preserved.
Securing Your Release From Custody. The entire process for securing pretrial release following issuance of a warrant complaint has changed in New Jersey. A defendant can no longer simply post bail to secure release pending trial. Someone accused of burglary, robbery, credit theft or another incident of purported stealing must be taken into custody and appear for a Hunterdon County Superior Court judge within 48 hours. Representation by an attorney immediately following someone being arrested can help speed up when someone appears before a judge within this 48 hour range. In addition, an accomplished lawyer can help persuade the prosecutor not to file a motion to detain which automatically results in the accused being held for a minimum of an additional 3 days.
Formulating An Effective Strategy To Defend The Charge. Our experience has taught us what works and what does not when it comes to defending charges like theft by deception, receiving stolen property and others falling under the subject matter of this page. We utilize this knowledge and skill derived over decades serving as prosecutors and defense attorneys to devise a plan that will maximize your chances of acquittal and/or a favorable resolution.
Analyzing The Evidence Against You. There are often shortcomings in the states’s evidence, also referred to as proofs. Our team will focus on each piece of discovery to pinpoint faults that allow us to defeat the allegations against you. A major area in this regard is identifying inconsistencies or misstatements. You can count on a thorough approach so that nothing that can help you is missed.
Persuasively Presenting Your Defenses. There are an array of defenses that potentially apply in a theft-related case in Hunterdon County. One of the primary elements with most of these charges is intent, namely, a conscious object to commit theft or fraud. There are often many other elements in addition that must be established, beyond reasonable doubt, to secure a conviction. An attorney who is accomplished in defending credit card fraud, theft by deception, identity theft and other pedigrees of this type of offense has the skill to throw a wrench in the prosecutor’s efforts to prove the required elements of the charge.
Negotiating Effectively. There is absolutely no doubt that the ability to negotiate in an effective manner is something that provides dividends to clients charged with prescription drug fraud, theft of services and other violations involving allegations of stealing or defrauding. The skills of our attorneys have been honed over decades (i.e. over 200 years in practice) so that they have the ability to negotiate in the most productive manner. This may involve cogently pointing out the weaknesses in the case against our client or utilizing any other angle we believe is beneficial in yielding a dismissal or reduced theft charge.
Exhausting All Diversion Programs. A diversionary program is one that has been adopted to allow an individual to avoid a criminal record and/or penalties that would otherwise apply for money laundering, shoplifting, burglary or similar offense. A first time offender can avoid a criminal record for a disorderly persons offense, for example, shoplifting or theft of services, through the Conditional Dismissal program. A similar vehicle is Pretrial Intervention except that only applies to indictable crimes of the third degree or fourth degree. Drug Court is available to someone accused of most non-violent offenses but is limited to defendants whose core issue is alcohol or drug dependency. Lawyers at our firm are well-versed in all of these programs.
We genuinely believe that our skills in litigating criminal cases on behalf of our clients are unique given the experience possessed by the attorneys at the firm. Do not make the mistake of settling for representation from someone who lacks trial experience as is often the case. Contact us at 908-824-0855 for a free consultation to explore what can be done to help you.
Theft Penalties That Our Attorneys Will Help You Avoid
The grade for most theft offenses is set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:20-2b. This statute prescribes the punishment that someone faces in the event that they are convicted for some form of theft at the Hunterdon County Superior Court in Flemington or in a local municipal court. The headings that follow outline what this law says.
Disorderly Person Offense. It is a disorderly persons offense to commit a theft involving less than $200. The most common variety of violation of this nature is shoplifting. If you are convicted of a disorderly persons offense you face up to 6 months in the Hunterdon County jail and a fine that can reach $1,000.
Fourth-Degree Crime. A fourth-degree crime is the lowest grade of felony charge someone can face at the Superior Court and results where the theft involves something with a value of at least $200 but less than $500. Sentencing for a fourth-degree crime carries a fine that can reach $10,000 and up to 18 months in state prison.
Third-Degree Crime. The biggest percentage of indictable crimes fall within the third-degree category. A third-degree crime results where the value of the money or property stolen is at least $500 but less than $75,000. You are exposed to up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000 if you are convicted of a third-degree theft.
Second Degree Crime. It is a third-degree crime to commit a theft or fraud resulting in a loss of $75,000 or more. The penalties at the time of sentencing for this degree of crime include up to a $150,000 fine and 5-10 years in prison. Second-degree robbery, theft by deception and second-degree burglary are the most frequently encountered second-degree thefts in Hunterdon County.
Beyond the penalties set forth above, someone convicted of theft or even fraud is left with a criminal record that can have collateral consequences that are extreme. You may be prevented from securing employment, a professional license or taking advantage of many other opportunities. Another ramification is that you can lose your immigration status and even be deported if your conviction involves a crime of moral turpitude or an aggravated felony. These are but a few of the reasons why you need to hire a highly experienced criminal lawyer at our firm to defend you.
Types of Theft Cases Handled By Us
Most of the theft charges contained in the New Jersey Criminal Code are contained at Title 20. Other offenses of this variety are scattered through the code elsewhere. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall defend all of these types of cases, including:
Shoplifting. When someone is caught committing a retail theft they are typically charged with shoplifting. There are 6 types of conduct that constitute “shoplifting” including concealing merchandise, swapping price tags, a box or other container to distort the true value, under-ringing or simply taking possession of items and attempting to remove them from the store without paying.
Theft by Deception. This variety of theft involves use of some form of deception to steal money or property from another person. The deception can involve misrepresentation of fact, value, authority or just about any other fact that is capable of creating a false impression. It also applies where someone prevents someone from acquiring information likely to affect their judgment regarding a transaction.
Prescription Drug Forgery/Fraud. When someone acquires a prescription legend drug by misrepresenting identity, quantity or dosage, it results in this criminal charge for obtaining cds by fraud. A companion offense that often crops up with this violation is possession of drugs and forgery.
Receiving Stolen Property. When someone purchases or acquires property knowing that it is stolen, they are exposed to the offense of receiving stolen property. It is important to keep in mind that this charge is somewhat different than most because someone can be convicted without first-hand knowledge that the items were stolen; it is enough if they believe it is “probably stolen.”
Burglary. One of the more common third-degree charges in Hunterdon County is burglary. While individuals often think there is plenty more to this offense, all the law requires is an unauthorized entry into a structure for the purpose of committing an offense. The intent does not have to be to steal in order to result in burglary. The accused can enter for some other purpose, for example, to damage property and that will suffice.
Robbery. This is the most serious of the theft offenses other than possibly carjacking. When someone commits a theft by using force or a threat without a weapon, it results in second-degree robbery. A first-degree robbery results where the actor uses a weapon or attempts to inflict serious injury to another person. This is considered a violent crime that falls under the No Early Release Act in either case.
Credit Card Theft. This theft charge arises where the item stolen is a credit card. It is also a violation where someone uses a credit card despite knowing that it is not his/hers or that it was improperly issued, or when the card has been knowingly altered.
Theft of Movable Property (Unlawful Taking). This charge is often viewed as the catchall theft offense. It is triggered when someone without authority takes property or money of another person with the intention of permanently depriving the true owner of its benefit.
Bad Checks. An individual commits a bad check offense if they knowingly pass a check that they know will not be honored. The bad check law in NJ creates a presumption of knowledge that the check would bounce if: (1) the account from which it was written was previously closed; or (2) where the writer of the check fails to cover it within 10 days of notice that it has been dishonored/bounced.
Identity Theft. This form of theft is much more serious than you might expect because identity theft often results in a second-degree crime. An individual commits identity theft if they impersonate another person, pretend to be a representative of a company, individual or organization or utilize the personal identification information of another person. Identity theft trafficking occurs when someone distributes or sells the personal information of third parties.
Theft of Services. One of the most frequently encountered violations of this nature is theft of services. This offense is committed when someone knowingly obtains services without the intention of ever paying. It is common to see this charge filed when someone wrongfully obtains cable service, diverts a water, electric or gas meter, or obtains the benefits of the personal services without paying (e.g. taxi, Uber, etc.).
An Attorney With The Skill To Successfully Defend Your Theft Charge Is Ready To Assist You
The team of lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have been fighting theft and fraud charges with countless stories of success. We are knowledgeable advocates who are committed to every client who entrusts us to defend them. If you have been charged with shoplifting, identity theft, burglary or another violation anywhere in Hunterdon County, and would like to learn how we can assist you, call 908-824-0855 for a free consultation. One of our attorneys will gladly provide the benefit of their insight without obligation.