What Constitutes Petty Theft?
Petty theft is a type of property theft, which is defined by New Jersey criminal statute N.J.S.A. 2C:20-2 as the unlawful taking of or exercising of control over someone else’s property. The offender has to act with the intention of depriving the owner of said property. In order for it to be considered petty theft, the value of the stolen property must be less than $200. If the value is higher, the charge becomes an indictable offense, with much stronger penalties and possible prison time.
What are the Penalties for Petty Theft?
Petty theft is considered a disorderly persons offense and is therefore not an indictable crime. However, it still can carry the following penalties:
- Up to 6 months in county jail
- Up to $1000 in fines (or double the amount of monetary loss to the victim, whichever is higher)
- Restitution if the court finds there is a victim who has suffered a loss and the offender is found to be able to pay
- Community service may be required
- Various Court fees and costs must be paid
- The offender may be put on probation. If they are already on probation, they may have to submit to drug and urine testing. If the offender is found to have violated probation, they may face jail time
In addition, it will appear on your criminal record. Many employers will be resistant to hiring people who have a theft conviction on their record. Expungement of a petty theft conviction or guilty plea takes a minimum of 5 years and requires you to have no more than three disorderly persons offenses and no indictable crimes.
Contact Schneider Freiberger Today
If you or someone you know is facing a petty theft charge, make sure you don’t face it alone. With the help of experienced legal counsel, it may be possible to beat or reduce a theft charge. Contact Schneider Freiberger today to discuss the details of your case.