As a non citizen, he really needs a lawyer who understands immigration law. A second theft conviction will result in loss of the green card and deportation proceedings. I know you said your friend cannot afford a lawyer, but he needs to ask friends and family to help him out because more than just probation and a fine are at stake.
Any violation under Title 2C in NJ can have far reaching immigration consequences. I would strongly suggest borrowing money to hire an experienced immigration lawyer if he values the ability to remain in the United States or obtain an immigration benefit in the future.
IMPORTANT: Mr. Murray's response is NOT legal advice and does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. You should NOT rely on this response. Mr. Murray's response was generated without conducting a full inquiry as would occur during an attorney-client consultation. It is likely that the response above may be made less accurate, or become entirely inaccurate, as you, i.e. the questioner, disclose additional facts that should only be discussed during a private attorney-client consultation. I strongly recommend that you consult an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state (or, in the case of immigration law, an attorney in ANY state), whereupon all relevant facts will be discussed. All responses posted by Mr. Murray on Avvo.com are intended as general information for the education of the public, and not for any specific individual. For persons located in New Jersey: To the extent that Mr. Murray's profile can be considered an advertisement in New Jersey, which is denied, be advised that NO ASPECT OF THIS ADVERTISEMENT HAS BEEN APPROVED BY THE SUPREME COURT OF NEW JERSEY. Furthermore, the selection methodology for the SuperLawyers' "Rising Stars" awards is set forth at length at this website: http://www.superlawyers.com/about/selection_process.html.
Theft by Deception is a serious charge for a non-citizen. Although the case may be in Municipal Court the amount is a "crime" in NJ, 3rd degree. I assume from your post the the case has been reviewed and downgraded by the county prosecutor. However two DPs can certainly be a problem with the INS. In addition, a second DP may carry probation or some county time as a sentence. Many times this type of offense can be negotiated toward a dismissal. That would be the best course given his status.