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Many people confuse theft with robbery, but in reality, they are different crimes with different charges. In some cases, theft can be upgraded to robbery. So what is the difference? How does a crime go from being a theft to a robbery? What does one do if he or she is charged with either? Read on to learn more about theft and robbery charges in New Jersey.

What are the Consequences of Theft in New Jersey?

A theft charge is heavily based on the amount stolen, so the higher the amount, the higher the charge. The penalties for theft crimes in New Jersey include:

Disorderly persons offenses: the amount stolen is valued at less than $200.

Fourth-degree theft: the amount stolen is valued between $200-500. If convicted of fourth-degree theft, you can spend up to 18 months in jail.

Third-degree theft: the amount stolen is valued between $500 and $75,000. This may also apply to the theft of a firearm, vehicle, controlled substance of less than a kilogram, or a blank prescription pad, among other things. If convicted of third-degree theft, you may face up to 5 years of imprisonment.

Second-degree theft: These charges are reserved for property valued greater than $75,000, extortion, theft of a controlled substance greater than a kilogram, or human remains and can result in up to 10 years in jail.

How are Theft Charges Upgraded?

Theft charges can be upgraded to robbery charges which carry a heavier penalty. For example, this may occur if a weapon is used during the theft. This would cause the charges to be upgraded from theft to armed robbery.

What are the Consequences of Robbery?

In New Jersey, you can be charged with first or second-degree robbery.

  • Second-degree robbery: considered to be a violent crime and an offender can end up in jail for 5-10 years.
  • First-degree robbery: occurs when the individual committing the theft attempts to kill or seriously harm another person, commits or threatens to commit any crime in the first or second-degree, or is armed with a weapon, uses a weapon, or threatens to use a weapon. This can result in 10-20 years in prison.

If you or a loved one is facing a theft or robbery charge, you will need to reach out to a skilled criminal defense attorney. Contact us today to discuss your case.


Here at McNerney & McAuliffe, we understand how confusing certain legal matters can be, which is why we are here to provide clients from all walks of life with the experienced, compassionate legal guidance they need. If you require the legal assistance of an attorney to help you through a criminal law matter, personal injury matter, family law matter, or otherwise, you can turn to us. Contact McNerney & McAuliffe today to learn more about what we can do for you.

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