With the rise in online shopping and internet delivery and subscription services, more and more people are having packages delivered to their homes on a regular or even daily basis. While being able to have purchased goods delivered straight to your front door is incredibly convenient, it can also make you a target for thieves. Rates of package theft have grown along with the rise in e-commerce, as thieves take advantage of the fact that packages are often left unattended on front porches and front doorsteps for hours before residents come home from work or school.
To combat the proliferation of so-called “porch pirates,” New Jersey has recently upped the severity of charges for stealing packages.
Theft of Delivered Package Now Considered Felony Offense
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy recently signed a bill into law that increased the grading of the offense of theft of a delivered package. The offense will now be charged as a third-degree crime, also known as a third-degree felony. Previously, theft of a delivered package was often charged as a misdemeanor offense, as the value of goods inside delivered packages often did not exceed the monetary threshold to trigger a felony charge. But now stealing packages from homes can be charged as a felony regardless of the value of the goods inside the packages that are stolen.
Legislators who sponsored the bill signed by Governor Murphy noted that while package delivery offers convenience for many people, it can also serve as a lifeline for disabled and elderly individuals since they can have critical goods like food or medication delivered straight to their door. However, when these kinds of packages are stolen from vulnerable people’s front doors, it can potentially lead to serious harm.
Penalties for a Conviction
Individuals convicted under the new law may face a sentence that includes a prison term of three to five years along with a potential fine of up to $15,000. Thieves may also be required to pay restitution, or reimbursement, to the victims of their crimes for the value of the packages that were stolen.
Other consequences of a conviction include having a criminal record, which can show up in background checks for employment, housing, or education and make securing these kinds of opportunities very difficult. In addition, a conviction for a theft-related crime can disqualify individuals from receiving certain licenses or government benefits or services.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You When Facing Theft Charges
If you have been charged with stealing packages, you may be facing significant consequences in the event of a conviction. A criminal defense attorney can help you pursue the best possible outcome in your case by:
- Independently investigating the facts and circumstances of your case to secure all available evidence.
- Discussing your legal rights and options with you and what you can expect at each stage of your case.
- Testing the state’s case against you by moving to exclude evidence that may have been unlawfully obtained from you, or moving to dismiss charges due to the insufficiency of evidence.
- Advising you of and pursuing legal options, such as pretrial intervention programs or plea bargains, which may allow you to avoid the worst potential consequences of a conviction.
- Advocating your defense at trial if you choose to contest your charges.
Contact an Experienced Hamilton Township Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Theft Charges in New Jersey
Were you arrested or charged with theft in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at The Davis Law Firm, LLC have successfully represented clients charged with theft in Trenton, Ewing, Lawrence, Princeton, and throughout New Jersey. Call (609) 498-7722 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 2653 Nottingham Way, Hamilton Township, NJ 08619.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.