Union County NJ Criminal Lawyers

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Theft by Deception

Union County NJ Theft by Deception Defense Lawyers

Theft by deception, while similar to other types of theft charges, is a separate and distinct crime under New Jersey Law. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4, theft by deception involves the use of false impressions to deceive an individual so that they engage in a transaction. More often than not, this offense involves lying either by omission or commission about an ability to pay for or provide a service. A common example of where this offense arises is where a construction contractor takes a deposit and never starts the related work nor returns the deposit. If you have been charged with theft by deception in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Cranford or another municipality in the county, we are ready to assist you. We are the attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, and possess over 100 years of experience as both prosecutors and defenders. Our team, which is possibly comprises the largest criminal defense firm in the state, is highly experienced in defending all grades of this offense including second degree, third degree, fourth degree crimes. You can speak with a knowledge lawyer from our office immediately, free of charge, by calling 908-271-1700.

What is Theft By Deception in New Jersey?

As previously stated, the offense known as theft by deception arises out of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4 of the New Jersey Criminal Code. This statute sets out the parameters and requirements of this offense, including the fundamental element of deception. There are also several other elements that must be established in order for a violation to occur. More specifically, theft by deception occurs when the accused:

  1. Obtains money or property of another;
  2. Through means of deception; and
  3. The deception occurred by one of three ways: (a) Creating or reinforcing of a false impression or preventing the other from acquiring information which affected his judgment; or (b) Failing to correct the false impression in those limited instances where he had that duty; or (c) Purposely deceiving another in order to obtain the property.

Another example of a theft by deception is where a person induces a lender to provide a loan based on false financial documents concerning income and/or assets.

Is Theft by Deception an Indictable Felony Offense?

Depending on the value of the property involved, theft by deception can be an indictable (i.e. second, third, or fourth degree crime) or non-indictable offense (disorderly persons offense). If the pecuniary value involved is less than $200, then it will be a non-indictable offense and it will be handled by the municipal court where the incident occurred. If the value is at least $200 but less than $500, then the theft by deception is a fourth degree crime. Theft by deception involving between $500 and $75,000, is a third degree crime. In the event that the value involved is $75,000 or more, then it is a second degree crime. These three crimes are indictable and will be handled in Elizabeth NJ at the Union County Superior Court. Each of these crimes has the potential for serious repercussions.

Can I Go to Prison for Theft by Deception?

Prison is a possibility if you are convicted of a felony offense under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4. In this regard, second degree theft by deception carries a term of imprisonment of between five (5) and ten (10) years. The lesser charge of third degree theft by deception results in between three (3) and five (5) years in state prison. Fourth degree theft by deception exposes the defendant to eighteen (18) months in jail. Finally, the least severe charge for theft by deception is disorderly persons offense, which still allows the court the sentence an individual to six (6) months in the county jail as opposed to “prison” (i.e. state prison). In addition to a term of imprisonment, there is the potential for heavy fines including up to $150,000, $15,000 and $10,000 for a second degree, third degree or fourth degree violation, respectively.

Elizabeth NJ Theft by Deception Charges

Theft by deception charges, whether indictable or non-indictable, should not be taken lightly. Whether the charge is pending at the County Courthouse in Elizabeth or in Municipal Court like those in Cranford, Westfield or Scotch Plains, an individual is exposed to the possibility of incarceration. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall possess both prosecutorial and criminal defense experience (i.e. over 100 years collectively) to insure that you get the very best representation available. Contact our Cranford Office at 908-272-1700 for a free case evaluation.

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