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Theft Crimes Lawyer Hackensack NJ

Newark Theft AttorneyTaking something from another party without permission or consent is, at it’s most general, referred to as theft. Typically,  the severity of theft charges is dependent on the value of the items that have been stolen, beginning with petty theft and ultimately working up to grand theft through a series of degrees. Beyond determining whether or not theft charges will be filed as a first through fourth degree, there are many other factors that will go into the court’s decisions on things like the penalties for a conviction and the impact that these changes will have on the defendant’s life. 

If you have been charged with theft of any sort in Hackensack or anywhere else in New Jersey, contact Lustberg Law Offices, LLC as soon as possible in order to schedule a free initial consultation. As your defense team, we will be able to go through each detail of your case and ultimately identify a few different paths that we can work towards that can give you a variety of favorable outcomes. When you are facing an aggressive prosecutor in the New Jersey courts, working with an experienced and equally aggressive defense attorney is one of the most important steps for you to take. 

Read more below to learn more about theft crimes in New Jersey, and contact us as soon as possible for your free initial consultation. We will be able to discuss the specifics of your charges and the possible consequences that you face for a conviction and help you understand how our experience can be such a significant help to your case.

Examples of Theft Crimes in New Jersey

As you can imagine by the general definition of “theft,” there are many different situations that can warrant a theft charge. The following examples are just a few common situations that result in theft charges. The next section will explain how these crimes are charged to a certain degree.

Petty Theft

Petty theft is typically a misdemeanor but is filed as a “disorderly person’s offense” and is applied in situations where the value of the goods stolen is minor. This can be something like stealing money from a tip jar, pocket cash from someone’s home, or other goods of low value. When the value of the goods or money that you stole, or were caught attempting to steal, amount to less than $500, you will likely be charged with petty theft.


Shoplifting is another example of petty theft, although there are situations where a shoplifting charge could be elevated to a higher degree if the value of the good stolen adds up to enough. You can be charged with shoplifting even if you are caught in the act of attempting to steal something, by being caught concealing merchandise in a store or tampering with price tags. 

Auto Theft

Taking someone’s car without permission is the basis for an auto theft charge, but there are further distinctions that specify the actual charges. Carjacking occurs when the owner of the vehicle is in the “immediate presence” of the automobile, and the perpetrator takes the vehicle by force or threat of force. Grand theft auto is when a car is taken from someone else without permission, but the owner is not around to be threatened or harmed. Stealing a car that is idling in a parking lot is grand theft, but forcing someone out of their car and stealing it is carjacking.


Robbery is the act of taking something that someone else owns or possesses through either violence or the threat of violence. This could be, for example, threatening someone with a knife and taking money from them that they have just withdrawn from an ATM, or forcing a cashier to hand over the money in their till. Armed robbery charges are applied when the person uses a weapon such as a knife or a gun during the act.


New Jersey’s extortion statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-5, states that “A person is guilty of theft by extortion if he purposely and unlawfully obtains property of another by extortion. A person extorts if he purposely threatens to:

  1. Inflict bodily injury on or physically confine or restrain anyone or commit any other criminal offense;
  2. Accuse anyone of an offense or cause charges of an offense to be instituted against any person;
  3. Expose or publicize any secret or any asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or to impair his credit or business repute;
  4. Take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action;
  5. Bring about or continue a strike, boycott or other collective action, if the property is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act;
  6. Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense; or
  7. Inflict any other harm which would not substantially benefit the actor but which is calculated to materially harm another person.”

As you can see from this statute, there are a variety of ways that someone can commit and be accused of extortion in the state of New Jersey.

Degrees of Theft Charges in New Jersey

Degrees of Theft Charges in New Jersey

New Jersey does not adhere to the distinction of a “misdemeanor” or a “felony” charge when pertaining to theft charges. Instead, there are a series of degrees that are applied depending on specific factors of the case. 

Value Totalling Less than $200

This is called a disorderly person’s offense, which can come with penalties of up to $1,000 in fines and up to 6 months in jail.

Value Totalling Between $200 and $500

This is a fourth-degree offense, which carries up to an 18-month sentence and $10,000 in fines.

Value Totalling Between $500 and $75,000

This is known as a third-degree offense and has possible penalties of up to 5 years in prison and $15,000 in fines.

Value Totalling More than $75,000

Theft of goods with over $75,000 in value is a second-degree offense and comes with up to 10 years in prison and $150,000 in fines.

Contact Us Today

The sooner you contact our firm, the more time we will have to build a comprehensive defense case for you. It is important that your case is represented by a qualified and aggressive defense attorney who is experienced as a theft crime lawyer and can help you navigate the complexities of the New Jersey court system.

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