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Pennsylvania Theft Lawyer

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.”

Pennsylvania Theft Lawyers Can Help With These Charges

Some categories of theft can include:

  • Theft by unlawful acquisition or disposition:  This can be done with movable or immovable property.  The suspect unlawfully takes or exercises unlawful control of another’s property in order to deprive the victim of it.  A person is also guilty of theft by unlawfully transferring, or exercising unlawful control over the property of another with intent to benefit himself or another who is not entitled to the property. Robbery and burglary are the most common offenses.
  • Theft by deception:  One commits this crime when he/she intentionally obtains or withholds property of another by deception. This includes not correcting a mistake that results in theft as the deception is after-the-fact.
  • Theft of lost, or mislaid property:  When the suspect comes in possession of another’s property that is known to be lost, mislaid, or wrongfully delivered and does not take reasonable measures to restore the property, he or she is charged with theft with intent to deprive the owner of the property.

Other theft charges can include receiving stolen property, forgery, identity theft and retail theft, either shoplifting (a misdemeanor) or felony theft.

Pennsylvania Theft Offense Classifications and Penalties

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:

  • This offense is committed during a man made, natural, or a war-caused disaster and essentially refers to looting any property that is movable.
  • The property is a stolen firearm but the receiver is not in the business of receiving stolen property.

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.

Call an Experienced Pennsylvania Theft Lawyer Today

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.