What Happens If You Steal Gas From Cars In New Jersey?
With gas prices reaching insane levels in New Jersey, some people are becoming desperate. These individuals are now literally drilling holes in gas tanks in order to siphon gasoline for their own personal use. It might sound like a ridiculous and unforgivable crime – but this is the reality we’re living in today. And more often than not, the criminals responsible are just trying to continue using their vehicles in a world that is slowly becoming less and less affordable. But what happens if you’re caught doing this in New Jersey?
If you are facing gas theft charges, it’s best to get in touch with a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. With help from one of these legal professionals, you can strive for the best possible results in a confident, efficient manner. Even though the consequences for gas theft are serious, there’s no sense in accepting needlessly harsh penalties.
Gas Theft Is On the Rise
New Jersey residents are enraged by the latest trend in criminal activity, which involves thieves drilling holes into gas tanks and taking out the fuel. Not only does this rob victims of their gas, but it also causes considerable damage to their vehicles. The cost of repairing this damage is often far greater than the cost of the gas which has been stolen. Although New Jersey is seeing a dramatic increase in this type of crime, it is not the only state struggling with gas theft. Apparently, the same scenario is playing out across the entire nation.
Unfortunately, not many people have the necessary funds to repair a ruptured gas tank. This means that economic hardships are compounded for everyone involved. The drilling of holes is necessary because newer vehicles have features that prevent fuel from being siphoned directly from the main hatch. Unfortunately, this process is incredibly dangerous – both for thieves and motorists.
What is the Penalty for Gas Theft?
The penalty for gas theft is actually quite light. Since defendants are unlikely to have taken more than $200 worth of gas from any single vehicle, they face a disorderly persons offense. This involves a maximum jail sentence of 6 months and a fine of up to $1,000. However, you may also face penalties for vandalism since you drilled a hole in the vehicle. The cost of repairing a ruptured gas tank is about $1,000.
This means that if you vandalize a car in this manner, you will likely be charged with a fourth degree crime. This involves a prison sentence of up to 18 months and a maximum fine of $10,000. Putting these both together, you could potentially face up to 2 years behind bars and a fine of over $10,000 if you are caught stealing gas in this manner.
Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today
If you’ve been charged with gas theft or theft of any kind, get in touch with New Jersey criminal defense lawyer Phillip J. Murphy as soon as possible. We’ll help you fight for your rights in an effective manner as you strive for the best results. Although the high price of gas is not a valid excuse for vandalism and theft, you shouldn’t face needlessly harsh penalties. Book your consultation today, and we can start working on an effective defense strategy as soon as possible.