I have been charged with “Theft By Deception.” What are some of the possible penalties I am facing?
Theft By Deception As Defined Under New Jersey Law
The possible penalties you could be facing depend on the degree of the crime you are charged with. The degree depends on the value of the alleged “stolen” property, as well as how zealous the prosecutor is.
The New Jersey statutes that define the act of “Theft By Deception” is as follows:
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.
The term “deceive” does not, however, include falsity as to matters having no pecuniary significance, or puffing or exaggeration by statements unlikely to deceive ordinary persons in the group addressed.
L.1978, c.95; amended 2003, c.43.
Will I have to serve jail time?
That depends on the degree of the crime you are charged with, but with one of our skilled defense attorneys working hard to get you the best possible outcome you may be able to reduce your chances of serving time. For example, one way that prosecutors may attempt to charge you with a more serious crime degree is be aggregating damages. This is a legal strategy the prosecution uses to add all damages and amounts of thefts together over a period of time in order increase the total value of stolen property. If successful, this can result in steeper charges being levied against you.
We also consider plea bargains and will fight to have charges reduced or dropped, and explore the possibility of entry into a Pre-trial Intervention Program (PTI) where appropriate. PTI is a diversionary program that allows you to put your case on hold for a short period of time. Completion of PTI (usually a 1 year program) results in a dismissal of your charges at the end of the PTI term.
Penalties For Second Degree Theft By Deception
If the value of the alleged theft is $75,000.00 or more, you could be charged with a second degree crime and be sentenced to incarceration in state prison for five to ten years.
Penalties For Third Degree Theft By Deception
If the value of the alleged theft is $500.00 to $75,000.00 you could be charged with a third degree crime and be sentenced to incarceration in state prison for three to five years. If you have no prior convictions you may be eligible for the Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program and able to serve probation.
Penalties For Fourth Degree Theft By Deception
If the value of the alleged theft is $200.00 to $500.00 you could be charged with a fourth degree crime which carries a maximum sentence of eighteen months in state prison if convicted. If you have no prior convictions you may be eligible for the Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program and able to serve probation.
There is no presumption of incarceration on a third or fourth degree crime so, if the defendant has no prior criminal history, the defendant can be given a probationary sentence if convicted. The defendant is also eligible for the Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program.
Our Monmouth County Fraud And Theft Crimes Defense Lawyers Can Help
At Clark & Clark, LLC we have been extremely successful in winning Theft by Deception cases at trial, obtaining probationary terms rather than jail sentences for our clients, or convincing the Prosecutor’s Office to dismiss the charges where appropriate. In some cases, we are able to get the theft by deception charges downgraded to a lesser charge as part of the plea negotiations.