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Severity of theft crimes

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2021 | Criminal Law

There are a number of different crimes that involve the theft of personal property, including larceny, robbery, false pretenses, embezzlement, and other offenses. When determining the level of severity of theft crimes in New Jersey, certain factors are evaluated by law enforcement and judges.

Value of the property stolen

The value of the property stolen is a major factor in evaluating the severity of theft crimes. Typically, theft of a few hundred dollars is not a serious crime, and may only be a disorderly conduct offense. However, theft of thousands of dollars is more serious and may increase the sanctions.

Use of force

Whether or not the person committing the theft used force will also impact the severity of the charge. Generally, the use of force to steal property is classified as robbery, which is a more serious crime. Sometimes, implicit use of force can make a crime more serious, and an experienced attorney should know how all types of force can impact a sentence.


The nature or extent of injuries that resulted from the theft of property can also have a substantial impact on the severity of a crime. If people were injured, or even killed, during the course of a robbery, the nature of the crime is far more serious. In addition, more crimes may be charged against a thief if individuals were hurt during the course of committing the crime.

Repeat crimes

If a defendant has committed multiple crimes in the past, it is likely that a theft charge will be viewed more harshly by the court. This is because the prior crimes indicate a pattern of criminal conduct that needs to be addressed with a more severe punishment.