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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.

Philadelphia Theft Lawyers

Perhaps a court has brought theft charges against you. How do you proceed from here? First, you should go out and hire a lawyer because they can fill you in on the specifics of your case. Most theft falls under the category of a state crime rather than federal, but you do have cases where it counts as a federal crime.

When It Becomes a Federal Crime

Theft becomes a federal crime under a few specific circumstances. For example, the crime involves federal property, or the individual crosses state lines with stolen goods. Stealing government property classifies as a federal crime, and prosecutors will pursue federal theft regardless of the dollar value stolen. To get a federal theft charge, you could also have allegedly misused government money, stolen government property or grants and loans. Federal theft crimes also count as illegal downloads and identity theft.

How Federal Theft Differs

The big difference between theft being a state crime and a federal crime is that federal courts have more complexity than a state crime. The procedures differ between the state courts and the federal courts. The federal court system has a more complicated set of guidelines when it comes to sentencing, and the federal courts will draw on a more extensive list of resources to get a conviction. In addition, if you have been charged with federal theft, you can normally count on having more severe consequences than in the state system. The maximum amount of time that you face with state charges is seven years.

Theft in Philadelphia

Let’s say that less than $50 was stolen. This classifies as a summary offense, and will most likely classify as a misdemeanor. You could also be charged with a crime if you accept or take the property of someone that you know has been stolen. However, the prosecutor must be able to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that you accepted this property knowing that it had been stolen.

What are Some of the Classifications of Theft in Pennsylvania?

Under Philadelphia law, they will normally classify it as stolen property if:

  • Stealing of services
  • Stealing by Extortion
  • Stealing lost property

What are Some of the Defenses from These Crimes?

First, the lack of intent to steal from the rightful owner becomes the best defense against this crime. If you can prove a lack of intent, a lawyer can defend you from this crime. You can also use the defense of your age or that you were under duress. For example, you were forced to commit a crime under the threat of violence. Entrapment is another defense. This happens when law enforcement tries to get someone to commit a crime that they would’ve been unwilling to commit under normal circumstances. Finally, you have the last case where the property wasn’t stolen to begin with. For example, the original owner says that the property was lost instead. Under these circumstances, you could put up a plausible defense against theft.

The Complexities of Theft

Theft can be as simple as theft from a convenience store, but this crime could become as complex as a jewelry thief in a diamond heist. Having a skilled attorney will help you to effectively defend against the prosecutor’s charges. The prosecutor has an obligation to prove that you took the property knowing that it was stolen, and they have to prove this beyond any shadow of a doubt.

State laws change quite often, which is one of the reasons that you need a talented attorney at your side to help you. For the smaller charges, it will range anywhere from 90 days in jail for up to seven years. It depends on the severity of the offense. The higher the value of the item that you stole, the longer the amount of time that you could be facing.

It is a crime to take property that does not belong to you. This is classified as theft. In order for a person to be convicted of theft, the prosecutor has to prove that the defendant intentionally took something that did not belong to them. People who accept stolen property may also be convicted of theft.

Legal Defenses Against Theft

It is best for you to contact an attorney if you are facing a theft charge because there are several defenses that can be used including the following.

The Ownership of the Property

People who have been accused of theft can state that the property they took was theirs. However, they will have to prove that they are the owner of the property. This may seem like a valid defense, but proving this can be difficult.

You cannot simply say that “I thought the property belonged to me.” You will need to have evidence to support your claim.

Intoxication

People who were under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the theft may be able to use this as a defense. The type of substance that one was using at the time does not matter. Here is an example of how you can use intoxication as a defense.

You were at a party and had too much to drink. You accidentally grabbed someone else’s coat when it was time for you to go home. You can say that you took someone else’s coat because you thought it was yours. You will still need to provide proof of this.

Even though intoxication can be used as a defense, you could face another charge if you are drunk in public.

Return of Property

Many people wonder whether they can get their charges dismissed if they return stolen property. You can still be charged with theft even if you give back the stolen property. However, you may be able to reduce your penalties if you return the property.

You may be able to convince the court that you borrowed the stolen property and was intending to return it.

Penalties and Sentences

The penalty for theft will depend on the value of the property that was stolen. If the property was less than $50, then it will be classified as summary offense. This is a lesser charge than a misdemeanor or felony. It is not a criminal conviction. However, if someone does a background check on you, then they will be able to see this charge on your record. That is why it should be taken seriously.

If you are charged with a summary offense, then you may be charged a fine. The fine can range from $25 to $1,500. You could be charged with a second-degree felony if the value is over $2,000. However, if the item was a gun, then you may be charged with a first-degree felony.

If the property was between $50 and $200, then you can be charged with a third-degree misdemeanor. You could spend up to seven years in prison if you are charged with major theft.

Why It is Important to Call An Attorney

It is easy to be charged with theft. In fact, if you accidentally put something in your purse and walk out of a store, then you can be charged with theft. That is why it is necessary for you to call a Philadelphia theft attorney.

There are a several defenses that you can use. However, the defenses will not mean anything if you do not plead at the right time and right way. A good attorney can make sure that you have the best defense possible.

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Criminal Attorneys Philadelphia

We Protect Your Freedom And Your Future.

At the law offices of Amato T Sanita, Esq, this is more than just a slogan – it’s our philosophy, and belief. Our goal is to protect your freedom, and to ensure your future is protected. By working with our firm, you get legal representation when you need it the most for your criminal case in Philadelphia. We understand that dealing with the criminal system is overwhelming – the consequences cannot be underestimated. Regardless of whether it’s a small misdemeanor, or a severe federal crime, you need to understand the legal process – how it impacts you – and a Philadelphia criminal defense attorney, who will work for you. Our Philadelphia criminal lawyers treat each case as it’s own unique situation, and work hard to uncover evidence that will get you the best possible outcome. Founding partner Amato Sanita, understands that you’re very concerned about possible sentences, and issues in the future you might face. There are many aspects to a criminal defense case. Our goal is to show the court you didn’t commit the crime and/or don’t deserve the maximum sentence for the crime you’re accused of committing. Regardless of whether it’s a drug offense, assault charge, or bank fraud, our Philadelphia criminal lawyers work tirelessly to represent your interests in court.

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Our firm has over 25 years of combined legal practice – handling some of the toughest cases in the country.

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Aggravated Assault can be charged against someone if they cause or attempt to cause “serious bodily injury” to another person. Serious bodily injury within Pennsylvania is defined as injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ (18 Pa.C.S. Sec. 2301). If convicted of Aggravated Assault, the crime is graded as a felony in the first degree.

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Aggravated Assault can be charged against someone if they cause or attempt to cause “serious bodily injury” to another person. Serious bodily injury within Pennsylvania is defined as injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ (18 Pa.C.S. Sec. 2301). If convicted of Aggravated Assault, the crime is graded as a felony in the first degree.

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Aggravated Assault can be charged against someone if they cause or attempt to cause “serious bodily injury” to another person. Serious bodily injury within Pennsylvania is defined as injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ (18 Pa.C.S. Sec. 2301). If convicted of Aggravated Assault, the crime is graded as a felony in the first degree.

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Aggravated Assault can be charged against someone if they cause or attempt to cause “serious bodily injury” to another person. Serious bodily injury within Pennsylvania is defined as injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ (18 Pa.C.S. Sec. 2301). If convicted of Aggravated Assault, the crime is graded as a felony in the first degree.

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Philadelphia

1518 Walnut Street st 808, Philadelphia, PA 19102

800-646-6048

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Philadelphia

1518 Walnut Street st 808, Philadelphia, PA 19102

800-646-6048

Get Directions

Philadelphia

1518 Walnut Street st 808, Philadelphia, PA 19102

800-646-6048

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