The statute of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3 protects against attempts to take two types of property. These two types of property are defined as:
a. Movable property. A person is guilty of theft if he unlawfully takes, or exercises unlawful control over, movable property of another with purpose to deprive him thereof.
b. Immovable property. A person is guilty of theft if he unlawfully transfers any interest in immovable property of another with purpose to
benefit himself or another not entitled thereto.
Movable property in New Jersey is “anything which can have its location changed, including things growing on, affixed to or found in land, and documents. In comparison anything that is not found to meet this criteria will be classified as immovable property.
Penalties For An Unlawful Taking
If a person is charged with theft by unlawful taking of movable property, the State will need to prove that three elements were met:
1. The defendant knowingly took or unlawfully exercised control over movable property
2. The movable property was of another
3. The defendant's purpose was to deprive the owner of such movable property
For a theft of immovable property the state must show that:
1. The defendant unlawfully transferred any interest in immovable property
2. The defendant knew that such transfer was unlawful
3. The defendant knew the immovable property was of another
4. The defendant's purpose was to benefit him or herself or another that was not entitled to the immovable property.
Theft can be a disorderly person offense, a fourth, third or second degree crime.
Disorderly persons offense-If the item is less than $200.00 or the property is an electronic vehicle identification system transponder,
Fourth degree crime- if the property is at least $200.00 but less than $500.00
Third degree crime- if the property is more than $500.00 but less than $75,000, taken by extortion, the property is a controlled substance or a person's benefits under federal and state law, human remains and any breach in an obligation by a person in his capacity as a fiduciary for an amount of $50,000 or more.
Second degree crime- if the property satisfies the criteria for a third-degree offense but the value of such property exceeds $75,000.