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What Are the Penalties for Mail Theft in New Jersey?

Mail theft, a seemingly minor crime to some, carries significant penalties in New Jersey. In fact, in some cases, mail theft is actually a felony crime. That said, if you’re currently facing these charges, you need a skilled Bergen County criminal defense attorney in your corner who can fight for you, every step of the way. Contact our firm today.

What Constitutes Mail Theft in New Jersey?

Mail theft involves unlawfully taking mail from another’s mailbox, post office, or mail carrier. It’s not just about letters; it includes packages, too. New Jersey, recognizing the privacy and security implications, treats mail theft seriously. Under New Jersey law, specifically N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3, theft of any property, including mail, is a criminal offense. The severity of penalties depends on the mail’s value. Stealing mail worth less than $200 is a disorderly persons offense. Penalties escalate with the mail’s value, reflecting the law’s intent to deter and punish.

What Are the Penalties?

Penalties in New Jersey vary, highlighting the state’s stance on protecting citizens’ mail. For a disorderly persons offense, one might face up to six months in jail. Fines can also be imposed, reaching up to $1,000, demonstrating financial consequences alongside incarceration. When the value exceeds $200, the crime escalates to a felony. This classification brings harsher penalties, including longer jail terms. Specifically, theft of mail valued between $200 and $500 could result in up to 18 months in jail. Values exceeding $500 but less than $75,000 lead to a third-degree charge, with a potential for three to five years in prison. Theft exceeding $75,000 is a second-degree offense, punishable by five to ten years in prison. These penalties underscore the gravity New Jersey assigns to mail theft.

What Should You Do If Accused of This Crime?

First, understand the accusation’s seriousness. Legal representation becomes crucial here. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can provide invaluable guidance. They’ll navigate the legal system, aiming to reduce or dismiss charges. Strategies may include challenging the evidence’s legality or arguing for mitigating circumstances. Early legal intervention often plays a decisive role in the outcome.

Ultimately, mail theft is no small matter in New Jersey. The law clearly defines and punishes such acts, reflecting the importance of mail integrity. Whether facing charges or concerned about mail security, understanding these laws is crucial. Should accusations arise, the most important thing you can do is retain the services of a seasoned New Jersey criminal defense lawyer who can effectively fight for your rights and future. Fortunately, if you’re reading this, you’ve come to the right place. Contact our firm today.

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