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Theft by Deception

What is Theft by Deception?

Flemington Theft LawyerFlemington Theft Lawyer

Theft by deception is a specific theft crime that is prohibited under New Jersey state law. In New Jersey, there are three main categories of theft offenses, they are:

  • Theft by deception,
  • Theft by unlawful taking, and
  • Theft by extortion.

Anyone who is accused of using deception to purposely obtain someone else’s property without permission can be charged with theft by deception. The term deception is defined under this New Jersey law and states that someone deceives if he or she purposely:

  • Making a statement or action to create or support a false impression;
  • Prevent someone from seeing or hearing information that would affect their decision-making in a deal;
  • Fails to correct a false impression.

Theft by deception requires specific accusations relating to criminal conduct to properly meet the criminal elements. For example, if you convince someone to give you a sum of money for cancer treatment, and they later find out that you never had cancer, then you can be properly charged with theft by deception. The amount of the money or value of property alleged to have been stolen will largely determine the severity of the charges and potential consequences. On one end of the spectrum, if the items alleged to have been stolen are worth less than $200, it can result in a disorderly person’s offense, while the theft of items valued over $75,000 can result in a second-degree felony charge. Regardless of the degree, theft by unlawful taking is a serious criminal charge in New Jersey. If you are facing a charge of theft by unlawful taking, then it is important that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.

What Are the Possible Punishments for Theft by Deception?

  • Jail/Prison: the punishment for a theft by deception conviction can be a jail or prison sentence depending on the degree of theft charged. A disorderly person’s offense for a low-level theft can result in up to six months in jail upon conviction, the highest-level theft by deception charge is a second-degree felony that can result in up to 10 years in prison.
  • Probation: Probation is the court’s alternative to incarceration. If the judge decides to sentence you to probation, then you will have to follow several conditions. These conditions are set by the judge and are enforced by your probation agent. As long as you complete your requirements, you can stay out of jail.
  • Restitution: It is common for restitution to be an important factor in theft crimes. The court will order restitution to pay back any money illegally obtained or earned by the defendant.
  • Fines: A disorderly person’s offense theft by deception conviction can result in a fine of up to $1,000, while a fine for second-degree felony theft by deception conviction can be as high as $15,000.
  • Other: Having a criminal record involving a crime of dishonesty like theft by unlawful deception can have several long-lasting problems that can follow you once your responsibilities to the court are finished. It may be hard to get a job or live in certain places, among other issues.

What Are Some Examples of Theft by Deception?

Under New Jersey law, some common examples of theft by deception include:

  • Dining and dashing
  • Selling stolen property to a pawnshop
  • Social Security phone scams
  • False billings

This is just a partial list of examples of what can be considered a theft by deception under New Jersey law. A theft by deception charge can be made against someone for countless types of alleged scams. If you are facing a theft by deception charge, it is important to understand the specific accusations that are made against you so you can properly prepare a defense.

What Are the Possible Defenses?

If a prosecutor is going to be successful in convicting someone for theft by deception, then they will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that not only a theft took place, but also a deception took place that directly led to the theft. The prosecutor is tasked with proving very specific actions and criminal intent when prosecuting a theft by deception case. A defendant can allege that there was a mistake and that the property was taken by accident if charged with a theft by deception. If a prosecutor is unable to specifically demonstrate what deception took place, then you can be properly found not guilty at a trial. These are just a couple of potential defenses to theft by deception under New Jersey law.

Why Forrester Law Stands Above the Rest in Criminal Defense

Attorney Amber Forrester has been certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a certified criminal trial attorney, a distinction less than 2% of attorneys achieve. Less than 250 of the over 80,000 lawyers in New Jersey share this certification with Ms. Forrester. In over a dozen years as a criminal defense attorney, she has represented thousands of people, with many facing serious potential consequences. Ms. Forrester’s skills, experience, and reputation are evident in the results she consistently achieves for her clients. You have a choice in who represents you, make sure you make the right choice with a call to Forrester Law.

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