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Theft by Deception Attorney in Middlesex County

Have you been arrested for theft by deception in Middlesex County, NJ? Well then it should come as little surprise to know that New Jersey’s theft by deception law was designed to be purposefully broad. That is why this crime is among the most prevalent theft crimes seen by our attorneys. This “catch all” statute is commonly charged by prosecutors in conjunction with other closely related crimes such as money laundering, insurance fraud, or receiving stolen property as a way to stack the charges. More importantly, the open-ended implementation and interpretation of the law often creates complicated legal issues for many individuals facing this charge. For instance, under some circumstances it can be a tough call whether a theft by deception actually took place or if it was just a legitimate business deal gone bad. As such, an experienced criminal defense attorney should handle these charges.

Can An East Brunswick Theft By Deception Lawyer Really Help Me?

No matter if your theft involved only a few hundred bucks or tens of thousands of dollars, the consequences are real and can often be devastating to your personal life. Later down in this article we highlight the different penalties for theft by deception including the jail and state prison sentencing terms. However, if your goal is to completely avoid or substantially minimize these consequences, including a criminal conviction, then you would be best served by having an experienced theft lawyer defend you. Will Proetta, Esq. dedicates his practice to the exclusive defense of criminal and municipal charges in New Jersey. In fact, he has handled well over one thousand criminal and municipal court cases over the course of his career. Our criminal lawyers represent clients who have been charged with theft by deception throughout Middlesex County and New Jersey, including Woodbridge, New Brunswick, Piscataway, Old Bridge, South Amboy, Helmetta, and Cranbury. In the past we have been able to secure very favorable results for numerous clients facing theft charges including Pre-Trial Intervention for second degree theft by deception charges, downgrades to municipal ordinances or even complete dismissals. If you would like to speak with an experienced criminal theft attorney and build a case strategy to meet your needs please contact our Middlesex County office today at (732) 659-9600 for a free initial consultation regarding your charges.

Theft by Deception Law in New Jersey N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4

The New Jersey statute for theft by deception is provided below, in pertinent part, for your reading convenience.

 § 2C:20-4. Theft by Deception

A person is guilty of theft if he purposely obtains property of another by deception. A person deceives if he purposely:

a. Creates or reinforces a false impression, including false impressions as to law, value, intention or other state of mind, and including, but not limited to, a false impression that the person is soliciting or collecting funds for a charitable purpose; but deception as to a person’s intention to perform a promise shall not be inferred from the fact alone that he did not subsequently perform the promise;

b. Prevents another from acquiring information which would affect his judgment of a transaction; or

c. Fails to correct a false impression which the deceiver previously created or reinforced, or which the deceiver knows to be influencing another to whom he stands in a fiduciary or confidential relationship.

What Does Theft by Deception Mean?

The stereotypical example of a theft by deception is the classic “switcheroo” move where you agree to sell an item such as a $10,000 Rolex watch to some poor sap for a great deal at half price and then last minute right before the transaction you switch out the real Rolex watch with a counterfeit worth $25. The victim paid $5,000 thinking he was getting a real Rolex worth $10,000 but only got a watch worth $25. In order to help understand what is essentially involved in a theft by deception case and what the prosecutor must prove in order to convict you, we have broken down theft by deception into 4 necessary elements. This breakdown can be helpful when assessing your potential defenses and weighing your likelihood of acquittal at trial.

  1. The property was obtained by the accused;
  2. The property was obtained by deception;
  3. The accused intended to deceive the victim; and
  4. The victim believed the defendant and there was some economic gain or loss which resulted.

Punishment & Sentencing For NJ Theft by Deception Charges

Under New Jersey law, theft by deception charges are graded monetarily, in the same way as other theft offenses. As a result, the degree of a theft by deception charge will depend on the amount of money allegedly stolen in the course of the theft or the total value of merchandise/goods. The specific guidelines for grading an NJ theft crime are as follows:

• Under $200.00 – disorderly persons offense; maximum 6 months in county jail

• $200.00 – $500.00 – 4th degree felony; maximum 18 months in state prison

• $500 – $75,000 – 3rd degree felony; maximum 3 – 5 years in state prison

• More than $75,000 – 2nd degree felony; maximum 5 – 10 years in state prison with presumption of incarceration. 

It is important to keep in mind that just because your theft by deception case starts off as a third degree, for example, does not mean that it will end as that same degree of offense. In fact, it is common place for the prosecutor’s office to often downgrade or remand theft charges if you can successfully challenge the evidence or the alleged amount of stolen money. Moreover, offering to pay restitution and reimbursing the alleged victim can often go a long way in satisfying the prosecutor’s concerns and securing a more favorable result.

Contact Our Piscataway NJ Theft Defense Lawyers for a Free Consultation

As we touched upon earlier in the article, the statutory language associated with the crime of theft by deception is very broad. This means that a crime of theft by deception can happen in a number of different ways. It is for this reason that we constantly represent clients against theft by deception who have also been charged with credit card fraud under 2C:21-6, check fraud (writing bad checks) under 2C:21-5 or even forgery – which commonly merges. The attorneys at William Proetta Criminal Law represent clients facing theft by deception charges throughout Middlesex County and New Jersey including Highland ParkSayrevilleAvenelPlainsboroSouth Plainfield, and North Brunswick.

If you have been charged with theft by deception it is important that you know your rights and legal options. To speak with an experienced theft by deception lawyer about representation, contact us at (732) 659-9600 for a free initial consultation over the phone or to schedule an appointment at our Edison office.