Thanksgiving officially kicks off the Holiday Season. This time of year is typically associated with family and cheerful revelry. Still, sometimes people get a little naughty during the holidays. The following are some common crimes committed from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.
Identity Theft (N.J.S.A. 2C:21-17)
The holidays are prime time for shopping. Unfortunately, they are also prime time for identity theft. As shoppers scramble to get the best deal, they may not be as vigilant as they enter personal information into an ATM or on a website.
If you use someone’s personal information to obtain a service or purchase goods, you have committed identity theft in New Jersey. The penalties for a conviction depend on the value of the goods or services that were obtained using someone else’s information. If the value is under $500, you would be charged with a fourth-degree crime, which means facing up to 18 months in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. If the value is estimated to be between $501 and $75,000, you can be charged with a third-degree crime. In that case, you would face up to five years in prison and $15,000 in fines.
Burglary (N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2)
During the holidays, families with the means to do so often splurge on expensive items for themselves, their kids, or other family members. This can be tempting to burglars.
Burglary is charged as a third-degree crime in New Jersey. The penalty for a conviction is three to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine. However, it can be charged as a second-degree crime if you are found armed with what could be considered a deadly weapon, which can include something as simple as a baseball bat or knife. Weapons or not, if you threaten to or attempt to inflict bodily injury on anyone else in the act of burgling, you can be charged with a second-degree crime. A conviction for burglary in the second degree could result in up to 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine.
Shoplifting (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11)
Huge crowds, holiday shopping chaos and overwhelmed store employees can create situations ripe for shoplifting. While some people shoplift because they can’t afford to pay, others do it for the thrill.
Like identity theft, the consequences for shoplifting in New Jersey vary based on value of the goods. Most instances involve merchandise worth $200 or less. In that case, the charge is a disorderly persons offense. A conviction means up to 10 days in jail for a first-time offense. For goods worth between $201 and $500, shoplifting is charged as a fourth-degree crime, which carries a penalty of up to 18 months in prison plus a $10,000 fine. If the items stolen are worth more than $500 but less than $75,000, it is a third-degree crime and a conviction means a possible sentence of three to five years in prison plus up to $15,000 in fines.
Driving While Intoxicated (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50)
Sometimes holiday merriment comes in liquid form. The end result is an increase in drivers getting behind the wheel just a bit too merry.
You can be charged with drunk driving in New Jersey if you are found behind the wheel with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of more than 0.08%. Consequences for a first offense include up to 30 days in jail and a license suspension of three months. On top of that, you could be charged a fine of between $250 and $400, plus a mandatory surcharge of $1,000 every year for three years. You’ll also be required to pay a $230 fee to the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, $100 to the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund, and $75 to Safe Neighborhoods Services Fund. If you have a BAC above 0.10% or are a repeat offender, the penalties are even worse.
If you or a loved one is arrested for a criminal offense or traffic violation in New Jersey, you need a skilled attorney who can fight to protect your rights so you avoid the most serious consequences. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are experienced criminal defense attorneys who have helped many other people in similar situations. Email or call 888-979-7551 today for a free consultation about your case.