New Jersey Theft and Larceny Laws

The crime of larceny or theft occurs when a person deprives another of their property rights. Theft (larceny) is similar to robbery, another property crime, but the use of force is used in robbery. There's no difference between theft and larceny; the only distinction made is that the jurisdiction determines which term is used. New Jersey uses the term theft to criminalize unauthorized taking offenses that include shoplifting, theft by deception, and extortion. The majority of theft crimes classification is based on the property value amount involved.

Disorderly Persons Theft

The least serious theft offenses are classified as disorderly persons offenses. The offenses can be either a disorderly persons theft or a petty disorderly persons theft which include thefts of property valued at less than $200. In contrast, a second degree theft, the most serious offense, involves property valued at $75,000 or more.

New Jersey Theft/Larceny Laws at a Glance

The chart below provides a summary of statutes related to New Jersey's theft laws, including links to important code sections.

Statutes

Theft: Statutory Definitions

Movable property: Unlawfully taking or exercising unlawful control of another's movable property with the intent to deprive the owner.

Immovable property: Unlawfully transferring any interest in another's immovable property in order to benefit himself/herself or another person who isn't entitled to the benefits.

Penalties

Theft (Disorderly Persons Offense): Punishable by up to 6 months in jail if it's a disorderly persons offense; punishable by up to 30 days for a petty disorderly persons offense and possible fines.

Fourth Degree Theft: if the value of the property is at least $200, but less than $500, it's punishable by up to 18 months in jail and/or a fine up to $10,000 or double the amount of the victim's loss, whichever is greater.

Third Degree Theft: Punishable by imprisonment term ranging from 3-5 years and/or a fine up to $15,000, or double the amount of the victim's loss, whichever is greater.

  • Property amount is more than $500, but less than $75,000.
  • Theft of firearm, motor vehicle, boat, horse, domestic companion animal, or airplane.

Second Degree Theft: Punishable by imprisonment term ranging from 5-10 years and/or a fine up to $150,000 or double the amount of the victim's loss, whichever is greater.

  • The property amount is $75,000 or more.
  • Extortion.
  • Theft of a controlled substance in the quantity of 1 kilogram or more.

Related Offenses

  • Receiving stolen property: New Jersey Statutes 2C: 20-7
  • Concealment of library materials: New Jersey Statutes 2C: 20-13

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

New Jersey Theft and Larceny Laws: Related Resources

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