With the rise of online shopping, package theft has become a growing concern for many people. In fact, a recent survey found that nearly one-third of Americans have experienced package theft, with an estimated $5.4 billion in losses each year. But beyond the financial impact, package theft can also have serious legal consequences. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the penalties for package theft in New Jersey and what you need to know to protect yourself.
What is package theft?
Package theft, also known as porch piracy, is the act of stealing packages that have been delivered to someone’s home or business. This can happen in a variety of ways, such as someone walking up to a front porch and taking a package that was left unattended, or following a delivery truck and taking packages as soon as they’re dropped off.
Why is package theft a crime?
Package theft is considered a form of theft, which is a crime under New Jersey law. Theft is defined as the unlawful taking of someone else’s property with the intent to deprive them of its use or enjoyment. This means that if someone steals a package from your porch, they’re essentially taking something that belongs to you without your permission, and they’re doing it with the intent of keeping it for themselves.
The Cost of Package Theft
The cost of package theft can be significant for the victim. They may have to pay for the lost or stolen item, as well as any shipping fees associated with the replacement. They may also have to take time off work to file a police report and deal with the aftermath of the theft. In some cases, the victim may have to deal with identity theft if the thief uses their personal information to make fraudulent purchases.
Beyond the financial cost, package theft can also take an emotional toll on the victim. They may feel violated and unsafe in their own home, especially if the thief is caught on camera. It can also be frustrating to know that the perpetrator may never be caught or brought to justice.
What are the penalties for package theft in NJ?
In New Jersey, package theft is considered a crime and can result in serious legal consequences for the perpetrator. The penalties for package theft depend on the value of the stolen goods and other factors, such as the perpetrator’s criminal history. If the value of the stolen package is less than $200, it’s considered a disorderly persons offense, which is a misdemeanor. The penalties for a disorderly persons offense can include up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
If the value of the stolen package is $200 or more, it’s considered a third-degree crime, which is a felony. The penalties for a third-degree crime can include three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
In addition to these penalties, package thieves can also be sued in civil court for damages. This means that if someone steals a package from your porch and you can prove that they did it, you may be able to sue them for the value of the package and any other damages you incur as a result of the theft.
How can you protect yourself from package theft?
There are several things you can do to protect yourself from package theft. Here are some tips:
1. Track your packages: Most delivery companies offer package tracking, which allows you to see when your package is scheduled to arrive. This can help you plan to be home when the package is delivered.
2. Use a delivery locker: Some delivery companies offer delivery lockers, which are secure boxes located in public places where you can have your package delivered. You’ll be given a code to unlock the locker and retrieve your package.
3. Require a signature: You can require a signature for delivery, which means that someone will need to be home to sign for the package. This can be a good option for valuable items.
4. Install security cameras: Security cameras can be a deterrent for package thieves, and they can also provide evidence if theft occurs.
5. Use a package theft prevention device: There are several devices on the market that are designed to prevent package theft. For example, some companies offer lockboxes that can be attached to your front porch, while others offer motion-activated alarms that sound when someone approaches your front door.
Why You Should Hire an Attorney
If you are charged with package theft in New Jersey, hiring an attorney is crucial to protecting your rights and defending your case. An attorney can review the evidence against you, help you understand your legal options, and develop a defense strategy to challenge the charges. They can also negotiate with the prosecutor for a plea bargain or represent you in court if necessary. Without an attorney, you risk facing serious legal consequences, such as fines, jail time, and a criminal record, which can have long-lasting effects on your life. Therefore, hiring an attorney can help ensure that your case is properly presented and that your rights are protected throughout the legal process.
Contact Aydelotte & Scardella Law LLC Today for a Free Consultation About Your Package Theft Case
At Aydelotte & Scardella Law LLC, we understand the importance of protecting your legal rights and achieving the best possible outcome in your legal matter. As a trusted law firm in Haddon Heights, New Jersey, we are committed to providing our clients with top-notch legal services and personalized attention.
If you have been charged with package theft in NJ, we can provide you with aggressive defense representation to protect your rights and minimize the legal consequences. Our attorneys have a deep understanding of New Jersey criminal law and know how to challenge the evidence against you, negotiate with the prosecutor, or represent you in court if necessary. We will work tirelessly to ensure that your case is properly presented and that your rights are protected throughout the legal process.
We pride ourselves on our strong track record of success and our commitment to our clients. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your legal matter and determine how we can best assist you. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and take the first step towards achieving a favorable outcome in your legal matter.