Hudson County Theft & Fraud Attorney
A fraud or theft conviction can have serious consequences on your freedom and reputation, including jail or prison time, fines, and a criminal record that can make it difficult to get a job. With consequences this serious, you need a serious criminal defense to match. You need the Hudson County theft crime lawyers at William Proetta Criminal Law.
As your hometown defense attorneys, we will be prepared to work hard and fight tenaciously toward the best results possible. We know the Hudson County court system inside and out, and we will use our experience to your advantage. Contact us today for a free initial case evaluation with an experienced Hudson County theft lawyer.
How a Hudson County Theft Crime Attorney Can Make a Difference for You
If your freedom is at risk due to theft or fraud charges in Hudson County, William Proetta Criminal Law is prepared to defend you by:
- Independently investigating your charges and recovering all available evidence and witness testimony that we can use to build your case
- Identifying possible defense strategies given the facts and circumstances of the case
- Moving to exclude the prosecution’s evidence if it was obtained in violation of your rights or is otherwise inadmissible under the rules of evidence
- Testing the state’s case by filing motions to dismiss your charges if the prosecution has insufficient evidence to proceed to trial or on procedural rules
- Pursuing the best possible outcome to your charges by negotiating for a plea deal or advocating in your defense at trial
Our Defense Attorneys Take on All Types of Theft and Fraud Cases
At William Proetta Criminal Law, we have successfully defended clients facing theft or fraud cases involving:
- Robbery – Taking of property through force or threat of force
- Burglary – Entering a building or structure with the intent to commit another crime once inside
- Shoplifting – Taking merchandise from a store with the intent to deprive the merchant of its full value or purchase price
- Theft of movable property – Taking personal property that can be moved or transported with the intent to deprive the owner of the use or value of the property
- Receiving stolen property – Taking or transporting property that one knows or should reasonably believe to have been stolen from someone else
- Prescription fraud – Obtaining prescriptions under someone else’s name or identity or through the unauthorized use of prescription pads
- Theft by extortion – Obtaining money or something of value by threatening someone with violence, accusations of a crime, or revelations of damaging information
- Theft by deception – Taking goods or services from someone based upon false impressions or misrepresentations
- Auto theft – Taking an unoccupied or unattended vehicle
- Carjacking – Taking a vehicle from its operator or a lawful occupant by force or threat of force
- Identity theft – Using someone else’s identity or using a made-up identity to obtain goods or services
- Forgery – The making or altering and use of a false document for the purpose of obtaining something of value or to commit fraud
- Bad checks – Writing checks on an account that the perpetrator knows has been closed or has insufficient funds
- Credit card fraud – Using someone else’s credit card without authorization or obtaining a credit card using another person’s identity or a false identity
- Theft of services – Receiving service from a provider with the intent to not pay required or fair compensation for those services
- Insurance fraud – Filing a claim for insurance benefits based on false information
Understanding the Degrees of Theft in New Jersey
In New Jersey, the grading of a theft or fraud charge is usually based on the value of the goods or services that have been stolen or the value of the economic losses suffered by the victim. In some cases, the grading of a theft charge may also be based on the type of item that was stolen.
Theft or fraud offenses in New Jersey may be graded as:
- Disorderly persons offense – The total value of the loss is less than $200, or the stolen item is an electronic vehicle identification transponder.
- Fourth-degree crime – The total value of the loss is at least $200 but less than $500.
- Third-degree crime – The total value of the loss is at least $500 but less than $75,000, or the stolen items include firearms, motor vehicles, watercraft, aircraft, horses, domestic companion animals, controlled substances weighing one kilogram or less, prescription blanks, public instruments or records, credit cards or bank access cards. Theft may be charged as a third-degree crime if it involves taking property from the victim’s person or through threat, taking healthcare benefits valued at less than $75,000 through deception or fraud, or taking property worth less than $50,000 in breach of a fiduciary obligation.
- Second-degree crime – The total value of the loss is $75,000 or more, or the stolen property involves human remains, controlled dangerous substances weighing more than one kilogram, or healthcare benefits valued at $75,000 or more.
What Are Some Common Defenses in Theft and Fraud Cases?
Some of the defenses that our attorneys at William Proetta Criminal Law commonly use in theft and fraud cases in Hudson County include:
- Ownership – You may be able to show that you had lawfully purchased or paid/tendered consideration for the goods or services at issue or that you at least had a good-faith belief that the goods or services belonged to you, such as by providing evidence of sale negotiation, contracts or receipts, or bank statements showing proof of payment.
- Lack of intent – Theft or fraud charges may be contested by showing that you did not intend to take the property or services at issue such as if you mistakenly took someone else’s item instead of your own or if you intended to return the property.
- Intoxication – Drug or alcohol intoxication may also mean that you lacked the ability to form the required criminal intent for a theft or fraud offense.
- Entrapment – This defense is valid if you were lured or induced into committing an offense that you otherwise had no intention of committing.
- Duress – In a duress defense, you must show that you were coerced or compelled into committing the charged offense, perhaps due to a threat to your safety or the safety of a friend or family member.
- Alibi – For theft crimes like shoplifting, burglary, robbery, or carjacking, you might defend yourself by showing that you were somewhere else when the theft took place.
- Mistaken identity – Theft crimes might also be disproved if you can show that you were erroneously identified as the perpetrator by a victim or witness.
- Unlawfully obtained evidence – The prosecution’s case can also be challenged if you can exclude critical evidence on the grounds that it was obtained in violation of your constitutional rights.
- Expiration of the statute of limitations – Prosecution for many theft and fraud charges must be started within a certain time frame after the crime has been discovered.
Understanding the Penalties for Theft and Fraud Convictions
The penalties for a theft or fraud conviction in New Jersey depend on the grading of the offense. Sentencing ranges for convictions for theft and fraud include:
- Disorderly persons offense – Up to six months in county jail, plus a potential fine of up to $1,000
- Fourth-degree crime – Up to 18 months in state prison, plus a potential fine of up to $10,000
- Third-degree crime – Three to five years in state prison, plus a potential fine of up to $150,000
- Second-degree crime – Five to 10 years in state prison, plus a potential fine of up to $200,000
In addition to incarceration and fines, courts may impose monetary penalties if an offender committed an act of theft or fraud in the context of serving as a fiduciary, such as a guardian, conservator, or trustee. Courts may also require convicted defendants to pay court costs or to pay restitution to the victims of their crimes to reimburse the victims for their financial losses. Courts might also impose terms of probation in addition to or instead of a jail or prison term. Finally, courts might order offenders to perform community service as part of their sentence.
Our Hudson County Fraud Attorneys Stand Ready to Fight for You
If you have been arrested and charged with theft or fraud in Hudson County, your freedom and good name could be at stake. At William Proetta Criminal Law, we don’t take those consequences lightly. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation with a Hudson County fraud attorney to learn more about how we can fight on your behalf.