What is Larceny in New Jersey?

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larceny new jersey

While watching the news you may have heard the term “larceny” used in conjunction with criminal proceedings. Legally speaking, the only distinction made between “theft” and “larceny” is that the jurisdiction determines the use of the term. While many states use the term “larceny” in criminal codes to describe stealing, New Jersey uses the term theft instead. If you face charges for larceny, please read on, then contact an experienced Mercer County theft lawyer as soon as possible. Some questions you may have include:

What constitutes larceny in New Jersey

When a person deprives another of their property rights that act constitutes theft or larceny. Larceny shares some similarities with robbery, another type of property crime, but robbery involves the use of force. In the Garden State, prosecutors use the term “theft” to criminalize unauthorized taking offenses that include:

  • Shoplifting
  • Theft by deception, and
  • Extortion

How does New Jersey penalize larceny?

The penalties you face upon conviction will depend on the value of the property you allegedly stole and the underlying circumstances. For instance, a conviction for theft of under $200 can result in either a disorderly persons offense punishable by up to six months in jail or a petty disorderly persons offense punishable by up to thirty days in jail and possible fines. Other penalties break down as follows:

The value of the stolen property is between $200 and $499:

  • Fourth-degree theft conviction
  • Up to eighteen months in jail, and
  • A fine of up to $10,000 or double the amount of the victim’s loss, whichever is greater

Stolen property valued between $500 and $74,999 and/or involved theft of a firearm, motor vehicle, boat, horse, domestic companion animal or airplane:

  • Third-degree theft conviction
  • Between three and five years in state prison, and
  • A fine of up to $15,000 or double the amount of the victim’s loss, whichever is greater

Stolen property valued at $75,000 or greater, involved extortion and/or the theft of a controlled substance in the quantity of one kilogram or more:

  • Second-degree theft conviction
  • Between five and ten years in state prison, and
  • A fine of up to $150,000 or double the amount of the victim’s loss, whichever is greater

How do you defend against larceny charges in NJ?

First of all, you should avail yourself of the services of a skilled Mercer County criminal defense lawyer who will use your case’s unique circumstances to craft a suitable defense. You have many possible defenses, but each will rely on the following concepts:

  • Consent: If you received consent to borrow or take the property, you did not commit the crime of larceny.
  • Intent: If you did not have the specific intent of permanently depriving another of their property, you did not commit larceny.

Our firm is here to help, so please give us a call today.


If you face a criminal matter, contact The Law Office of Douglas Herring to schedule your initial consultation.

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