Theft offenses in Pennsylvania depend on whether the theft involves property that is “movable and tangible,” or the opposite – “immovable and intangible”. An example of movable property is an item in a store or your wallet and its contents. Examples of such thefts would include shoplifting or armed robbery. If you have been charged with this crime, contact an experienced Pennsylvania theft lawyer for a free consultation. But the key to understanding immovable property is the word “intangible;” something you cannot touch (or put in your pocket). Examples of immovable property theft would be stealing real estate, or some sort of fraud. So to make it easy, immovable property is usually classified as white collar theft while movable often applies to “common theft.”
Some categories of theft can include:
Other theft charges can include receiving stolen property, forgery, identity theft and retail theft, either shoplifting (a misdemeanor) or felony theft.
Most theft charges are based on the value of the property that is taken. But there are exceptions when circumstances surrounding the offense can be a factor. The following is a general breakdown of these classifications. An experienced Pennsylvania theft lawyer can try to get the charges against you reduced to a more minor offense.
These are stand-alone theft offenses. Aggravating circumstances in which property is taken directly from another person by threat, can often draw additional serious charges (and penalties) if it involves assault or kidnapping during a carjacking. Burglary has many different criteria in addition to the value of the property stolen. It can range from a first-degree misdemeanor to a second degree felony. Many robberies are serious felonies, especially if a gun or other weapon is used during the robbery.
Third degree misdemeanor theft – Involves property valued at less than $50, and carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
Second degree misdemeanor theft – Occurs when the property involved is valued at between $50 and $200. Conviction results in a jail or prison sentence of two years and a fine of no more than $5,000.
First degree misdemeanor theft – Charges are filed if the property stolen is worth more than $200; comes with a sentence of five years’ incarceration and a fine of between $5,000 and $10,000.
Third degree felony theft – Involves property valued at more than $2,000 or if the stolen property is an auto, motorcycle, motorboat or any motor-propelled vehicle. Receiving stolen property also falls under this classification if the suspected receiver is in the business of buying or selling stolen property. The penalty upon conviction of a third degree felony can be a jail sentence of up to seven years imprisonment and a fine of no more than $15,000.
Second degree felony theft – Involves several possible scenarios which can include:
When convicted of second degree felony theft, the punishment can range from seven to 10 years in prison and a fine of no more than $25,000.
First degree felony theft – The most common offenses include armed robbery. But another instance occurs when a person who is in the business of buying and selling stolen property has received, retained or disposed of a firearm. The penalty for first degree felony theft is imprisonment of 10-20 years and a fine of up to $25,000.
If you or a family member are facing any type of Pennsylvania theft charge, you need to contact a reputable Pennsylvania theft lawyer.
We will evaluate your case at no charge, look at the evidence, determine your best defense, and look for mitigating issues such as police misconduct, other suppression issues and even possible affirmative defenses.