Auto Theft

New Jersey Auto Theft Attorney

Theft by Unlawful Taking of an Automobile ("Auto Theft") is one of many charges that may result when stealing a car. Unlike many theft offenses in New Jersey if a person is indicted for car theft, the charge is not graded based on the value of the property, but is automatically a third-degree crime. If you have been arrested or received an indictment for motor vehicle theft in New Jersey, The Law Offices of Palumbo & Renaud are prepared to assist in your criminal defense.

My name is Anthony N. Palumbo, New Jersey criminal defense lawyer and with over 35 years of success defending theft by unlawful taking cases, I am qualified to handle your auto theft charge. I defend individuals in criminal and municipal courts throughout New Jersey including Middlesex, Monmouth and Union County. For legal advice about your auto theft charge, Contact me today at 1-866-664-8118 for a Free Consultation.

Common auto theft charges include:

  • Carjacking
  • Joyriding
  • Maintaining a Sale of Stolen Vehicles for Parts
  • Leader of Auto Theft Trafficking Network
  • Employment of a Juvenile to Commit Auto Theft
  • The Unlawful Taking of an Automobile.

Theft by Unlawful Taking of an Automobile
Auto theft occurs when a car is taken with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle, meaning the intent to keep the car forever or destroy it so that the rightful owner can no longer use it. The intent to permanently deprive is what separates auto theft from joyriding, which does not require that level of intent and usually carries lesser penalties. Auto theft is also different from carjacking because carjacking requires that force be used against the owner when the vehicle is stolen, but there is no force in auto theft.

I frequently obtain bail reductions for my clients to keep them out of prison and with their families until the charge is resolved. Contact me today by calling 1-866-664-8118 for a Free Consultation and we will discuss what I can do for you.

Auto Theft Penalties
Unlike many theft crimes which are graded based on the value of the stolen property, in car theft cases, the value of the property is irrelevant for grading purposes and the minimum charge is always a third-degree crime. A third-degree crime carries 3 to 5 years in prison on conviction. In addition, New Jersey law tacks on additional penalties in auto theft convictions. These penalties vary based on whether this is the defendant's first or subsequent conviction.

For example:

  • For a first offense, an additional penalty of $500.00 and a 1 year license suspension period will result.
  • For a second offense, an additional penalty of $750.00 and 2 year license suspension period will result.
  • For a third or subsequent offense, an additional penalty of $1,000.00, and a 10 year license suspension period will result.

Furthermore, the court may order the defendant to pay restitution. In third-degree crimes, restitution cannot exceed $15,000. However, if the car and its contents were worth more than $7,500 when stolen and the car is not recovered, the court may require the defendant to pay a higher amount to make sure the owner is compensated.

Car theft carjacking attorney, Union County unlawful taking attorney
To speak with an experienced attorney about your options, Contact me today for a Free Consultation. I will discuss the facts of your car theft case; explain the various defenses at your disposal and the probable resolution of your charge. The burden is on the prosecution to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and at The Law Offices of Palumbo & Renaud, I do everything in my power to ensure this does not happen. In the vast majority of my cases, I obtain extremely positive results for my clients and I may do the same for you.