Millville cops investigating the alleged theft of wooden pallets from a local business have solicited the public’s assistance. The department shared security camera footage and photos on its Facebook page. The images allegedly show suspects loading pallets into a van.
The combined value of the pallets is allegedly $150.
Plea Cut Off, Rule 3:9-3
In my client’s case, the State also had video footage. Unsatisfied with the public defender, the client retained me after plea cut off. In short, without the approval of the Criminal Presiding Judge based on a material change of circumstance, the client had lost the option to enter a negotiated plea. This occurs during the pretrial conference when the court lists the case for trial.
Additionally, retaining new counsel does not qualify as a material change in circumstance. After the entry of a plea in a criminal case, in addition to other requirements, the withdrawing and substituting attorneys must certify the withdrawal and substitution will not cause or result in delay.2 Accordingly, the court expects a substituting attorney to pick up exactly where the withdrawing attorney has left off. Despite explaining all this, the client retained me.
But in this client’s case, while on bail and after plea cut off, the police filed new charges. And the new charges qualified as a material change in circumstance for plea cut off. Therefore, with the approval of the Presiding Criminal Judge, my client entered a negotiated plea for the previous and new charge.
Theft By Unlawful Taking
Under New Jersey law, theft by unlawful taking occurs only if a person “unlawfully takes, or exercises unlawful control over, movable property of another.” Additionally, the individual must act with the purpose to deprive the owner of his property. N.J.S.A. 2c:20-3.
By N.J.S.A. 2c:20-2, property value may determine the degree of the theft.
- SECOND DEGREE: Property value at least $75,000;
- THIRD DEGREE: Property value greater than $500 and less than $75,000;
- FOURTH DEGREE: Property value between $200 and $500, inclusive;
- DISORDERLY PERSON: Property value less than $200.
1 Plea Cut-Off. Under New Jersey law, after the pretrial conference has been conducted and a trial date set, the court shall not accept negotiated pleas absent the approval of the Criminal Presiding Judge based on a material change of circumstance, or the need to avoid a protracted trial or a manifest injustice. R. 3:9-3.
2 Substitution of counsel. After the entry of a plea in a criminal action …, an attorney may withdraw without leave of court only upon the filing of the client’s written consent, a substitution of attorney executed by both the withdrawing attorney and the substituted attorney, a written waiver by all other parties of notice and the right to be heard, and a certification by both the withdrawing attorney and the substituted attorney that the withdrawal and substitution will not cause or result in delay. R. 1:11-2.
Experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide consultations on any case regarding theft. Call Now—(856) 812-0321.