Pennsylvania Theft Lawyers
You may have read that larceny is considered theft. This is not the case in the Commonwealth. According to Pennsylvania law, a theft defense is defined by whether the unlawful taking of property taken was tangible and movable or intangible and immovable. This means that here you can be charged with theft because of the value of the property or the circumstances surrounding the theft. Since theft charges in Pennsylvania are complex and serious, you or your loved one needs a tough, experienced law firm to help you.
Pennsylvania Theft Statute
The Commonwealth statute 18 Pa.C.S.A Crimes and Offenses 3921 outlines the unlawful taking of people’s property. For example, you can be found guilty of theft of movable property if you meet the following requirements:
1. You unlawfully take the movable property owned by another individual; OR
2. You exercise control of the property owned by another individual; AND
3. You have the intent to deprive the individual of the property. This means that you don’t intent to return it to them.
Examples of movable property include items at a retail store, money or a vehicle.
You can be found guilty of theft of immovable property depending on the value and/or circumstances such as you:
1. You unlawfully transferred immovable property owned by another individual; OR
2. You exercised unlawful control of immovable property owned by another individual; AND
3. You have the intent to take the property to benefit yourself and/or third party.
An example of immovable property is real estate.
Theft in Pennsylvania is a Misdemeanor and Felony
A crime is usually a misdemeanor or felony. However, in the Commonwealth it can be both offenses. This distinction is made according to the stolen property’s value or circumstances surrounding the taking of the property.
Misdemeanor theft is:
Misdemeanor in the first degree is taking property valued at more than $200, such as a waist trainer, or leather backpacks.
Misdemeanor in the second degree is taking property valued higher than $50, but less than $200.
Misdemeanor in the third degree is taking property valued at less than $50.
Misdemeanor theft conviction ranges from five years behind bars for a first degree charge to at least one year for a third degree charge.
Felony theft charges are more serious than being charged with a misdemeanor theft offense. They include:
1. Felony in the first degree theft is receiving stolen property, retaining or getting rid of a firearm or buying and selling stolen property.
2. Felony in the second degree theft is taking property during a manmade or natural disaster, taking a firearm or taking anhydrous ammonia (any amount).
3. Felony in the third degree theft is taking property value at more than $2,000 or any motor-propelled vehicle (automobile, motorcycle, airplane or motorboat).
A felony theft conviction ranges from seven to 25 years in prison and a fine.
The Elements of a Theft Charge in the Commonwealth
Commonwealth prosecutors will fight hard to prove you’re guilty of theft. This means that you must have a smart defense to combat their challenge. Prosecutors must prove one of three elements to secure a conviction:
1. You created a false impression with the intent of deceiving the victim and taking their property. This means you used a false impression or reinforced false facts to commit theft; OR
2. You prevented the victim from acquiring information that would have allowed them to make a sound judgment; OR
3. The victim already had a false impression, and you failed to correct the information. This allowed you to allegedly deceive the victim.
Our Law Firm is Here for You
Theft isn’t one of the crimes where you hope for the best. Even if you know you didn’t commit the crime, know this simple fact. The Commonwealth is doing everything possible to convict you of theft. That’s why you must have a strong, tough defense team to represent you. You need us. Our law firm will fight for you. We will protect you constitutional rights and build a solid defense for you. Contact us today.
Indicted With a Theft Charge in Pennsylvania? Our Knowledgeable Attorneys Can Help You Dismiss or Dispute It
Theft can often be a one-time mistake or error in an individual’s judgement, an impulse or act of desperation that is quickly regretted by individuals who are anxious about paying bills on time and putting food on the table. However, Pennsylvania’s laws will grade the severity of the punishment and sentencing by the value of the items stolen, not by the reasons the theft was committed.
Irregardless of what motivated the theft, people who are indicted with theft charges can face horrifying repercussions; These can include hefty fines, a mark on their criminal record and in severe cases, a prison sentence. If you find yourself indicted with theft charges, you will need to retain a strong and aggressive criminal-defense attorney to passionately defend you.
Our experienced lawyers have tons of experience in defending individuals with theft charges and can devise specific strategies that can lessen serious charges and, in some cases, dismiss the charges altogether. They also have great knowledge of the laws surrounding theft, working relationships with judges and prosecutors and have succeeded in defending multiple cases involving theft charges in Pennsylvania.
The Facts About Theft Charges in Pennsylvania and the Consequences That Can Come If an Individual Is Convicted
Pennsylvania defines theft as any act that involved unlawful taking or disposition; To be more specific, they mean that theft is the unlawful taking of property that belongs to another individual with the intention of taking the property from them. However, you shouldn’t confuse this with shoplifting, as it is a separate charge that is used in cases of stealing from a business or a corporation, usually defined as “retail theft”, which can entail different sentencing guidelines and practices. Other forms of theft charges in Pennsylvania can include:
- Theft of lost property that was misplaced by the original owner
- Theft from a motor vehicle, which is defined by items being taken out of another individual’s vehicle
- Treating any rented or leased property as if it was owned. For example, renting a car and then attempting to sell it, destroy it or refuse its return to the original owner at the end of a lease
- Theft by failure, which is defined by failing to make payments on property when these payments are required through a legal agreement
Sentencing for theft typically follows guidelines that are based around the value of the item taken, and because of this it can be highly variable. First of all, theft can be either a misdemeanor or felony charge, which can affect an individual’s future professional career, as many employers will deny individuals with theft charges from certain positions. The guidelines around the value of the item taken are:
- Theft of anything worth $50 or less will be a third-degree misdemeanor
- If the theft had a value of more than $50 and under $200, it will be a second degree misdemeanor
- Theft of anything between the values of $200 and $2000 will be defined as a first degree misdemeanor
- Anything stolen that was worth more than $2000 can be considered a third degree felony
Theft doesn’t have a minimum or maximum punishment in Pennsylvania, but factors that can influence sentencing include if the theft was committed during a natural disaster, prior offenses and other charges committed along with the theft.
Our Experienced Attorneys Can Dismiss or Dispute Theft Charges of Any Degree
If you’ve been indicted with a theft charge, an experienced and determined prosecutor is already building a case against you, so why not build a case to defend yourself with an experienced criminal defense attorney? Our attorneys understand that a theft charge can impact your life greatly, so they are there to fully explore your options and help you every step of the way. We offer free consultations, so please schedule one today if you’ve been indicted with theft charges in Pennsylvania.