Theft of Movable Property

Hightstown NJ Theft of Movable Property Attorney

With Offices in Pennington and Trenton NJ

Theft crimes are extremely common in New Jersey. A person can be charged with theft by unlawful taking or disposition anytime they take an object or item that belongs to someone else. Additionally, NJ prosecutors will not hesitate to seek maximum penalties in theft cases because these offenses are considered “crimes of moral turpitude.” If you have a crime of moral turpitude on your permanent record, you could find it difficult to secure or maintain employment in the future.

Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson is a highly respected law firm with more than 40 years of experience in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Our attorneys have successfully defended countless clients against theft charges in Mercer County, including Trenton, Lawrence, and Ewing. We understand how important it is for you to keep your permanent record clear of a theft crime conviction; that’s why we will do whatever it takes to help you win your case. Call KCR now to begin your defense.

N.J.S.A. 2C:20-1: Theft of Movable Property Charges in Mercer County NJ

Theft of movable property in New Jersey is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:20-1. A person is guilty of theft if they unlawfully take, or exercise control over, the movable property of another person with the intent of depriving that person of the property.

The statute defines “movable property” broadly to include just about any property that has value and that can be physically moved. In other words, if the location of the property can be changed, it constitutes “movable property.” “Movable property” includes things growing on, affixed to, or found in land. “Movable property” also includes documents, even though the rights represented by the documents have no physical location. Examples include trade secrets and contract rights.

A theft of movable property charge requires the prosecution to prove that the defendant intended to deprive the rightful owner of their property. This means that the offender knowingly removed the property from its original location and did so for the express purpose of taking it away from the owner.

Penalties for Theft of Movable Property in Trenton NJ

The penalties for theft of movable property vary, depending upon the amount involved and the nature of the theft.

Second Degree Felony – 5–10 Years in NJ State Prison:

  • Property is valued at $75,000 or more
  • Property is taken by extortion
  • Property is a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) and is in excess of 1 kilogram
  • Property is a person’s healthcare benefit and is valued at $75,000 or more
  • Property is human remains

Third Degree Felony – 3–5 Years in NJ State Prison:

  • Property is valued at $500–$75,000
  • Property is a firearm, motor vehicle, vessel, boat, horse, domestic companion animal, or airplane
  • Property is a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) and valued at less than $75,000 or has an undetermined value and is 1 kilogram or less
  • Property is from the person of the victim
  • Property was taken in breach of an obligation by a person in their capacity as a fiduciary
  • Property was taken by threat not amounting to extortion
  • Property is a public record, writing, or instrument kept with a public office or public servant
  • Property is a person’s healthcare benefit and is valued at less than $75,000
  • Property is related to research, including any sample, specimens, research subject, supplies, records, data, test results, prototypes, or equipment
  • Property is a New Jersey Prescription Blank
  • Property is an access device

Fourth Degree Felony – Up to 18 Months in NJ State Prison:

  • Property is valued at $200–$500

Disorderly Persons Offense – Up to 6 Months in County Jail:

  • Property is valued at less than $200

Defenses to a Theft of Movable Property Charge in Mercer County NJ

Since a theft of movable property charge requires the prosecution to prove that the defendant knew that they were depriving another person of their property, it is an affirmative defense that the defendant was unaware that the property belonged to someone else.

It is also an affirmative defense that the defendant acted under an honest claim of right to the property and believed that they had a right to take the property.

Related Charges: Shoplifting and Burglary in Lawrence NJ

If the theft of movable property occurred in a retail business, you could be charged with shoplifting. Additionally, if the theft of movable property occurred during a home invasion, you might also be charged with burglary.

Call a Princeton NJ Theft Lawyer

The criminal defense lawyers at Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson will help you beat your theft of movable property charges. Call us today to discuss your theft case, or fill out the online contact form to schedule a free, in-person consultation at our offices in Trenton or Pennington.

Contact Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson

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Call (609) 528-2596 or (215) 337-4915 or send us an email. We're here when you need us.