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SKA Law is a premier, Philadelphia criminal defense law firm, founded by professional criminal attorneys. We take on cases other law firms turn down, because we know how to fight – and when to negotiate. Our goal is to get you the best outcome possible. No fluff. No nonsense. Our focus is results.
SKA Law takes on fewer clients than other firms – it’s because we believe that taking on fewer clients means we can provide more service, and better results.
Our firm has over 25 years of combined legal practice. Our Philadelphia criminal attorneys have been recognized by the top lawyer ranking services.
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We take on fewer clients than other firms. Each client works 1:1 on with one of our senior attorneys.
There are many ways to commit theft. In most cases, people tend to trivialize these crimes. When faced with theft charges, many do not seek the counsel of theft defense lawyers. Many hold the notion that they can defend themselves while others simply accept the punishment given without fighting. This is a risky thing to do because a criminal charge on your record may show up in background checks. Such a record may affect your chances of getting a job in the future. It is imperative and in your best interest to consult with a theft defense lawyer. You should do this immediately to protect your constitutional rights. It is ill-advised to admit guilt or innocence when you are arrested. You should always exercise the right to remain silent until you have a lawyer present.
Types of Theft Charges
Grand theft is the theft of property of value above $400. Grand theft can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor with punishment ranging from 1 to 3 years of jail time.
Petty theft is a minor charge with a maximum sentence of 6 months jail time or probation. Petty theft with a prior charge can either be treated as a felony or misdemeanor. A felony can carry a maximum of 3 years while a misdemeanor carries a maximum of one year in jail.
Embezzlement is a theft charge where one is accused of stealing while either serving as a trustee or an employee. Depending on the extent of the money taken, this can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor.
Stealing in commercial spaces can also be treated as a felony or misdemeanor. The maximum sentence for a felony is three years jail time.
Under the Penal Code, residential burglary is always charged as a felony. It carries a maximum sentence of 6 years jail time.
Auto burglary refers to the theft of a car or the contents of a vehicle. Again, depending on the circumstances of the case this can either be a felony or a misdemeanor.
Robbery under the Penal Code is always treated as a felony. To prove a robbery charge, the prosecution must prove that property or goods were taken under fear or force. The charge may double if weapons were used. In the case of robbery with violence one may get up to 10 years jail time.
Theft Charges Defenses
One of the most common defenses used in these cases is lack of presence. If you are accused of a home invasion, this can be defended if you have an alibi. For you to be convicted, the prosecutor must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you were present at the scene of the crime during the time of the theft.
Another defense is that you have claims to the rights of property or goods. If you took a property because you believed that you have a ‘claim of right’, then this can lead to an acquittal. This is also proof that you had no intention to steal.
Lack of intent or mistake is another possible defense. For instance, you may forget to clear your shopping cart only to find that you took products that you had not paid for. If you are accused of theft in such an instance, then you can prove that you had no intention to commit the crime.
Let a Theft Defense Lawyer Help You
It is easy to find yourself accused of theft, even when you had no intention to steal. What follows can be a spiral of legal battles that you did not in the least foresee. To avoid this, get a lawyer in your corner to defend you. It is again easy for someone to twist facts and you find yourself in a deep mess. Do not take this risk. Talk to a lawyer immediately, and he will advise you on the best course of action.