Last week I represented two clients charged with theft of movable property in violation of NJSA 2c:20-2 in a Union County municipality. The case involved two individuals who allegedly had taken license plates off of a vehicle (that allegedly did not belong to them) and placed it on another vehicle that had recently been purchased.
Theft of movable property is a criminal offense, the severity of which is usually determined by the monetary value of the items alleged to have been stolen. However, sometimes the degree of theft offense charged depends upon the item itself. For example, theft of a prescription pad or prescription blank is a third degree crime punishable by up to 5 years in jail. In this case, both defendants were charged with disorderly persons theft of movable property offenses, and faced jail time up to 6 months.
In this case, the police had conducted a random plate search of the vehicle and noticed it did not match the car driven by the defendants. The police stopped the individuals and questioned them. Following the investigation, both were arrested, and charged with theft under NJSA 2c:20-2.
During the pre-trial conference, I was able to negotiate with the prosecutor. Although the State had a great case against my clients, I was successful in convincing the prosecutor that the charges should be dismissed and justice would be best served by punishment that fell outside the confines of the criminal justice system.
Following oral argument before the court, the judge agreed, and dismissed the criminal charges against my clients and instead imposed a period of community service to level the scales of justice. My clients and their parents were very happy