Theft by Unlawful Taking

NJ Theft Lawyer

Theft by Unlawful Taking is a crime in New Jersey which occurs when someone either takes or exercises control over tangible property without the owner's consent and with the intent to deprive the owner of his property. Theft by Unlawful Taking can also occur when someone unlawfully transfers an interest in intangible property that belongs to someone else. The penalties for Theft Crimes depend on the value of the property in question, but if multiple items of property are taken, the prosecution can use the aggregate amount when determining the applicable penalties. Penalties can be quite serious and can carry up to 10 years in prison in certain cases.

Criminal Defense Attorney: Middlesex & Union County

My name is Anthony N. Palumbo, New Jersey Theft Defense Lawyer, and if you have been charged or received a criminal complaint for Theft by Unlawful Taking in Union County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Essex County or throughout New Jersey, I will defend your charge. As a former prosecutor, I spent years prosecuting individuals for Theft by Unlawful Taking, and I know what the other side who is trying to put you behind bars is looking for. My experience on every side of the law has made me successful in representing clients charged with Theft Crimes. Contact me today for a free initial consultation by phone or in person at 1-866-664-8118. I defend individuals against all Theft Crimes including Theft by Extortion, Auto Theft, Theft by Force, Theft of Property Mislaid, Lost, or Delivered by Mistake, Theft by Deception and Theft of Services.

I represent individuals before all of the Union County municipal courts:

NJ Theft by Unlawful Taking Law

Under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3, the applicable New Jersey Statute for Theft by Unlawful Taking, whether a violation has occurred depends on whether the property in question is movable or immovable. Under the statute:

  • Movable property: A person is guilty of theft if he unlawfully takes, or exercises unlawful control over, movable property of another with purpose to deprive him thereof.
  • Immovable property: A person is guilty of theft if he unlawfully transfers any interest in immovable property of another with purpose to benefit himself or another not entitled thereto.

Understanding the Language

  • Unlawfully takes or exercises control: Theft of movable property occurs when a person takes property knowing that he is not supposed to take it or move it. A person can still violate this section even if he has not taken or removed property so long as control is exercised over the property. An example of control would be when someone takes the key to another person's locker, thus denying the owner access to his belongings, but without actually moving or taking them.
  • With Purpose: The accused must have had the intent to deprive the owner of his property. It is not a violation of this section when the owner and the accused agree to the taking, or where the accused has a valid claim over the property.
  • To deprive him thereof: Deprivation occurs when someone denies another person use of something that belongs to them. Thus, deprivation would occur if someone takes or exercise unlawful control over the property of another. The most important point is that one need not deprive another of their property for a long period of time in order to violate this section. The deprivation may be permanent, or it can be for a short period.
  • Transfer: Transfer applies to the section on immovable property. To be convicted under the section for immovable property, the accused must have actually transferred an interest in the property. Control is not required with respect to immovable property. It is the transfer of such property which is vital to a conviction.

Penalties on Conviction

A conviction of Theft by Unlawful Taking can result in a variety of different charges and penalties depending on the value of the property.

$75,000 or more

  • 2 nd Degree Crime
  • 5 to 10 years in prison

Between $500 and $75,000

  • 3 rd Degree Crime
  • 3 to 5 years in prison

Between $200 and $500

  • 4 th Degree Crime
  • Up to 18 months in prison

Individual items may be added together in order to determine the value of the property in question. Thus, if a ring valued at $60,000 is stolen, and a necklace worth $16,000 is also stolen by the same individual, the defendant can be charged with a 2 nd degree crime because together the items add up to over $75,000.

Defenses

There are many defenses that can be exercised on your behalf depending on the particular circumstances of your case. As a former prosecutor, I can easily identify which defenses will hold up against the prosecution's case. In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecution must prove all of the elements in the law above, and if any one of those elements can be disproved, a conviction cannot be rightfully obtained. For instance, it may be possible to defend your case by proving that you did not have the intent to deprive the owner of the property in question because you have a valid claim of right over the property, or there was consent on behalf of the owner to engage in certain conduct.

Contact me today to see which defenses will be most effective against your charge. The facts of each case are different and require individual analysis and determination as to which avenues of relief are most useful. I have been successfully defending individuals against Theft by Unlawful Taking in Union County, Middlesex County, and throughout New Jersey for almost 4 decades. Call 1-866-664-8118 for a free initial consultation by phone or in person at either of my two conveniently located offices.