New Jersey Theft by Unlawful Taking or Disposition Law

We represent clients charged with N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3; New Jersey theft by unlawful taking or disposition complaints and indictments filed in Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Somerset County, Essex County, Union County, and Hudson County.

Theft by unlawful taking or disposition is divided into two subsections: One involving movable and the other immovable property.

Theft of movable property occurs if a person unlawfully takes or exercises control over movable property of another with a purpose to deprive him of the property.

It is the unlawful taking or unlawful exercise of control which is the act that makes the conduct criminal.

Theft occurs when there is an exercise of unlawful control.

There need be no movement.

Hence, the theft of a car may occur when the ignition is started and not when the car begins to move.

For this offense it must be movable property that is taken, disposed of or control exercised over.

Property is anything of value including contract rights or claims to rights.

The property that is taken must be the property of another.

This includes any ownership or interest of another including an interest in a trust.

Unlawful control over a trust occurs when a trustee exceeds his authority.

Property of another also can be the property in which the defendant has a partnership, or some other form of co-ownership.

The taking must be unlawful which means that defendant knew that he was not entitled to take, exercise control over or dispose of the property.

The state must prove that the defendant knew that it was the property of another.

In addition to unlawful the taking must be done with a purpose to deprive the other person who had an interest in the property.

This includes the withholding of property of another with a purpose to restore only upon the payment of compensation.

Unexplained and exclusive possession of stolen property by the defendant shortly after the theft justifies an inference that the defendant is the thief.

For theft of movable property the state must prove five elements.

First, it is movable property.

Second, the movable property was of another.

Third, defendant took disposed of or exercised control over the property.

Fourth, it must be unlawful.

Fifth, it must have been taken with a purpose to deprive the other person who had an interest in the property.

There are several distinctions with theft of immovable property.

A person is guilty of theft of immovable property if he unlawfully transfers any interest in immovable property of another with the purpose to benefit himself or another not entitled thereto.

For this offense, there must be an actual transfer of an interest in the property.

An unauthorized control is not sufficient.

The unlawful occupancy or use of real estate is not an offense.

It is the transfer of the interest that is prohibited.

The state must prove four material elements.

First, unlawful transfer.

Second, of an interest in immovable property.

Third, of another.

Fourth, defendant acted with the purpose of benefiting himself or another person who was not entitled to that interest.

If you have any questions for a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer about a New Jersey theft by unlawful taking or disposition charge, please do not hesitate to contact us.