Theft of Services
N.J.S.A 2C:20-8 prohibits purposely obtaining labor, professional services and other benefits through deception or fraud. In many ways, the offense is extremely similar to theft by deception. If you have been charged with theft of services for allegedly stealing gas, electric, cable or other services in Mercer County, the lawyers at our firm are well equipped to protect your interests. An attorney at our firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, has the knowledge and skill to ensure you have every opportunity to escape the penalties for theft of services in Ewing Township, Trenton, Robbinsville, Lawrence, Hamilton or another municipality in Mercer County. We are a team of eight former prosecutors and accomplished attorneys who have over a century of combined experience defending clients in courts throughout the county who have been arrested for theft of services. An attorney is standing by around the clock to provide a free consultation. Contact us now for immediate assistance.Charged With Theft of Services in Mercer County
The theft of services law is contained at N.J.S.A. 2C:20-8. It applies to labor, professional services (e.g. accounting, legal, medical, etc.), transportation, telephone, electric, water, gas, cable, car or truck rental, housing and other services that are customarily obtained through compensation. When an individual utilizes deception, threat, fraud, a token, slug, means of diversion or other means including but not limited to mechanical or electronic devices or through fraudulent statements to avoid payment for the services.
Material Elements. There are five elements that must be established in order for the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office or another agency to convict someone of theft of services. The state must prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that the accused:
- Obtained services;
- That are only available for compensation;
- Knew he/she could only secure the services for compensation;
- Deception, threats or some other fraudulent means were used to obtain the services; and
- The conduct was with a purpose to deceive or defraud.
The actions of the defendant must be taken with the purpose to deceive so that the services are obtained without paying appropriate compensation. Merely accepting services that someone is not entitled to receive does not result in violation of 2C:20-8.Tampering With or Embezzling Cable or Utility Services
A major service that comes into play under 2C:20-8 is gas, water, sewer, cable and other utility services. When someone diverts services, tampers with a meter or otherwise engages in conduct to wrongfully obtain utilities, theft of services is triggered.Penalties for Theft of Services
A second degree crime of theft of services arises when services with a value of $75,000 are wrongfully obtained. There is a fine of up to $150,000 and 5-10 years in prison for second degree theft of services. Third degree theft of services arises when telephone or telecommunications services are stolen or where the services acquired are worth at least $500 but less than $75,000. Third degree theft of services results in a fine of up to $15,000 and up to 5 years in prison. A fourth degree crime for theft of services carries a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 18 months in prison (i.e. service stolen of at least $200 but less than $500). A disorderly persons offense for theft of services applies where the services stolen have a value of less than $200 and the penalties that apply in this instance include a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.Lawrence NJ Theft of Services Attorney
There are numerous condo and apartment complexes in Lawrence Township New Jersey, as well as Rider University, which contribute to the disproportionate number of theft of services charges in the municipality. The total number of offenses arising in the community is clearly much higher than a town like Pennington, Hopewell, Highstown, Princeton or West Windsor. If you were arrested or otherwise charged with theft of services in Lawrence or anywhere else in Mercer County, an attorney at our firm is accomplished in defending charges like yours. Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall for an immediate free consultation with one of our lawyers. Attorneys at our office are available 24/7 to help you. Call (609) 775-9009 to speak to a skilled lawyer now.