Although many major categories of theft offense have specific laws that apply, automobiles is not one with the exception of carjacking. When a car is stolen, the general theft and theft by unlawful taking laws apply. However, New Jersey a special statute that is triggered in terms of penalties when someone is sentenced for automobile/car theft. The law were are referring to is N.J.S.A. 2C:20-2.1, and it prescribes stiffs punishment when some steals a motor vehicle.

At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our criminal trial attorneys include several former prosecutors and a team equipped to handle your auto theft case from inception all the way up to trial. Our firm has a plethora of experience handling theft related cases and is ready to discuss the facts of your case today. Call our Newark Office now for a free consultation.

What are the Penalties for Auto Theft?

As a crime of the third degree, each defendant will face anywhere from three (3) to five (5) years in a State Penitentiary, as well as a $15,000.00 fine. In addition to this, automobile theft carries enhanced penalties pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:20-2.1. Specifically, for the first-time auto theft offenders, there is a penalty of $500.00 and a one year mandatory license suspension. For a defendant convicted of their second auto theft offense, a penalty of $750.00 and a license suspension of two years will be imposed. Lastly, for a third or subsequent offenders, there is a penalty of $1,000.00, and to the suspension or postponement of the person’s license to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for 10 years.

Will I Have to Pay Restitution to the Owner for Auto Theft?

When a defendant is convicted of an offense involving the theft or unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, in addition to any other fine, penalty, or restitution which may be imposed, the defendant is liable to the owner of the motor vehicle for any reasonable and necessary expense incurred by the owner in recovering the motor vehicle and for any damage to the motor vehicle prior to its recovery by the owner. The defendant is also obligated to make the restitution to the carrier of the victim which paid for its insured’s damages.

Does This Law Apply To A Juvenile?

No. Our Courts have held that N.J.S.A. 2C:20-2.1 does not apply to juvenile delinquency proceedings in the Family Division.

If you have been charged with automobile theft, call us now for immediate assistance. A member of our staff will thoroughly review your case and advise you as to what we believe your best course of action to be.