If you are charged with 4th degree theft and are a first offender, you may be entitled to first offender treatment, better known as pretrial intervention. If you are eligible from pretrial intervention, the charges will be dismissed if you successfully complete a period of probation.
Unfortunately, I am just seeing this question for the first time, and am answering it for the sake of all others who are similarly charged in the future.
In NJ, a Fourth Degree Crime exposes you to a State Prison sentence of up to 18 months. A Disorderly Persons (DP) Offense exposes you to up to 6 months in a County Jail. In addition, each can result in the imposition of a fine, community service, probation, and restitution.
One of the most important distinctions you should discuss with your lawyer is the collateral consequence of how long this will stay on your record before you can apply for expungement. In NJ, the expungement petition cannot be filed until after the completion of a so-called waiting period. The period does not start until you complete the sentence, including the payment of a fine or restitution. A Fourth Degree Crime has a 10 year waiting period. A DP has a 5 year waiting period.
On the other hand, as my collegue noted, this may well be eligible for diversion into the Pre-Trial Intervention Program. If you are successful in entering and completing the program, any plea required for you to be admitted into the program is vacated, the charges are dismissed, and you only have to satisfy a 6 Month waiting period before you are eligible to petiton for expungement.
This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship or constitute legal advice. Given the nature of this website, it is provided solely for informational purposes, for you to use as a starting point when speaking directly with a lawyer in your State. Do not assume that the legal theories I mention that pertain to NJ will apply in your State. I urge you to immediately contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer admitted to practice in your State before making any decisions about this case.