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DAVID CLARK
Criminal Defense Attorney

Philadelphia Theft Charges

By law, the crime of theft in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania encompasses the unlawful taking of an item or items from another person with the intent to permanently deprive them of such items. Theft can be used when non-tangible items are also involved, which includes any sort of documents and/or writings that have been taken from one person to another. Someone arrested for theft could be facing expensive fines and several years in prison. If you are facing Philadelphia theft charges, contact a dedicated theft defense lawyer today to get started on your case.

Elements of Theft

The elements of the crime of theft first involve the unlawful taking of something from one person to another. The item or items can be tangible items such as property, automobiles, anything of monetary value or sentimental value or non-tangible items such as writings and/or documents that are being unlawfully taken by another. In all cases, the elements of theft, after the taking is administered, also involves permanently depriving the individual of the items no matter if they are tangible or non-tangible.

Separate Charges Included in Theft

When dealing with theft charges in Philadelphia, the Commonwealth often charges a number of other crimes that are considered lesser included offenses. Charges such as receiving stolen property or specific theft charges such as retail theft also accompany a theft charge. Additionally, theft in and of itself can be a lesser included offense of other charges. The charge of robbery which is graded as a felony of the first or second degree also encompasses the charge of theft. In order to have a robbery charge, a person must take an item or items, tangible or intangible, from another person with the intent to permanently deprive that person of such items. It only becomes a robbery when force is used.

What to Expect After Contacting a Lawyer

When someone reaches out to a lawyer for advice in dealing with Philadelphia theft charges, they should expect to have a detailed summary of exactly what the allegations are and whether or not there was intent to permanently deprive a person of the property. An individual should prepare to discuss all of the specific details of their case. Most discussions revolve around whether or not the individual intended to permanently deprive the individual of the items, which is required for theft to be convicted. Anyone reaching out to a criminal defense firm who wants to discuss theft charges should be prepared to know the details of what the accusations are, have a general idea of the values of the items, and whether or not the person being charged with theft intended to permanently deprive the other person or persons of such items.

How an Attorney Can Help

Philadelphia theft charges are a serious offense. Individuals charged and convicted of thefts can face anywhere from felonies of the third degree all the way down to misdemeanors of the third degree. There is a large range of how the criminal justice system deals with theft charges. An individual charged and convicted of theft as a felony of the third degree can face three and one-half to seven years of incarceration and a $15,000 fine. The charges and/or sentences can be reduced once a lawyer gets involved with the case. As things progressively move in favor of the defense, the charges become minimal, which protects the person who is charged with theft from having a felony and/or a misdemeanor record. In many cases, individuals may be able to make payments to pay back an amount of which the item that was stolen is projected to cost. This negates the intention to permanently deprive the other person. In those cases, restitution may be enough to resolve the matter. In all cases of theft, the use of an attorney is essential.