What Happens If You Steal Packages From Someone’s Porch In New Jersey?
During the holiday season, many New Jersey residents ordered gifts online. Some of these packages made it into their hands, while others did not. A stunning number of packages were stolen right outside front doors in a fairly new type of crime known as “porch piracy.” If you were one of the many people who grabbed packages from people’s porches, you might now be facing serious legal consequences. But what exactly is the penalty for porch piracy, and how can you defend yourself in court?
New Jersey Has Specific Laws Against Porch Piracy
In many other states, porch piracy is simply prosecuted under existing theft laws. But in New Jersey, there are specific laws that pertain specifically to stealing packages from porches. The Defense Against Porch Pirates Act made it a third-degree crime to steal delivered packages worth less than $75,000. This means that stealing a package from a porch could potentially result in high penalties compared to stealing the same item from the shelves of a store. You could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000 if you are convicted of porch piracy in New Jersey.
You should also know that homeowners and businesses are becoming more adept at tracking and identifying porch pirates. Many use cameras on their front doors that can identify you easily. Some police forces have even started using “bait packages” that track unsuspecting porch pirates, making them easy to arrest and charge.
Federal Laws Against Stealing Mail
For normal USPS letters and packages, you face penalties under federal law. Like the penalty for porch piracy in New Jersey, the maximum penalty is up to five years in prison for stealing mail. You can also face even worse consequences if you steal mail while acting as a USPS employee.
Porch Piracy is Out of Control Across the United States
Porch piracy has skyrocketed in the United States over the past few years. This is mainly due to the pandemic and the widespread adoption of online shopping. With more people staying home instead of shopping in person, packages are piling up on porches throughout the nation. UPS estimates that at least 33% of Americans have had their packages stolen from their porches at some point in their lives.
Where Can I Find a Qualified Defense Attorney in New Jersey?
If you’ve been charged with porch piracy, shoplifting, or any other crime related to theft, you need to get in touch with a qualified, experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Choose Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney at Law, and you can strive for the best possible outcome right away. We know that facing these charges can be daunting and embarrassing, but you can fight for your rights with dignity. Book a consultation today and immediately get started on a solid defense strategy.