Have You Been Arrested, Charged, Or Indicted In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania?
All crimes are serious especially when you are the one facing theft charges in Pennsylvania. If convicted, you may face prison time as well as fines and penalties. The risk of losing your freedom, your employment, and the cost to you and your family to defend the charges makes it essential for those accused of a crime to retain the experienced criminal defense theft attorneys at Grace Legal.
Grace Legal has decades of experience handling theft offenses and as your defense attorney, they promise an aggressive defense to the criminal charges against you, whether you are located in Camp Hill, Harrisburg, PA, or anywhere in Central Pennsylvania.
What Is Theft?
Generally, theft is the taking of someone else’s property without the owner’s authorization of consent. It is also theft if you receive property that you know to be stolen property and you have no intention of returning it to the owner.
Theft offenses can range from shoplifting a small item to the unlawful taking of a priceless painting or diamond jewelry. It is still theft. It’s just a matter of degree.
In addition, there are different kinds of theft offenses under the criminal statute including:
- theft by deception (where the defendant intentionally withholds the property of another by deceiving them)
- theft by extortion (where the defendant obtains or withholds the property by threatening to harm the victim or commit another criminal offense)
- theft of services
- theft of lost property (where the defendant fails to try to return the lost property to its rightful owner)
Each case and set of facts will be considered by your defense attorneys. They will help you understand whether you face a misdemeanor charge or felony and what defenses you might have to avoid conviction.
What Is Grand Larceny?
Pennsylvania uses the term theft instead of grand or felony larceny. As noted above, there are different types of theft charges and accordingly, depending on the dollar value of what was taken, the theft may be a misdemeanor or a felony and there are different penalties attached.
If you have been arrested for shoplifting, theft, identity theft, grand theft, fraud, or any theft offenses, it is essential to understand your criminal exposure and what steps can be taken by your defense attorney to minimize the punishment.
What Are The Degrees Of Theft Charges And Penalties?
The higher the value of the item stolen, the more severe the grading of the charge, and the higher the fines and period of incarceration. Pennsylvania theft offenses are graded as follows:
- First Degree Felony if the value of the property stolen is $500,00.00 or more – maximum sentence is 20 years in jail and a $25,000.00 fine
- Second Degree Felony if the value of the property is at least $100,000 but less than $500,000 – the maximum sentence is 10 years in jail and a $25,000 fine
- Third Degree Felony if the value of the property exceeds $2,000 but less than $100,000 – maximum sentence is 7 years in jail and a $15,000 fine
- If the value of the property was at least $200 but equal to or less than $2,000, then the theft charge is graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree. A first-degree misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum sentence of five years of incarceration and a $10,000 fine.
- If the value of the property was at least $50 but less than $200, then the theft charge is a second-degree misdemeanor. A second-degree misdemeanor has a maximum sentence of two years of incarceration and a $5,000 fine.
- If the value of the property was less than $50, then the theft charge is a third-degree misdemeanor. A third-degree misdemeanor has a maximum sentence of one year of incarceration and a $2,500 fine.
An experienced criminal lawyer will be able to evaluate the evidence against you and work with you and the prosecutor to achieve the best outcome possible.
What is Theft Of Firearms And Motor-Propelled Vehicles?
Pennsylvania law separates out theft offenses that involve a firearm or a motor-propelled vehicle. If a person steals a firearm or receives a stolen firearm, they can be charged with a felony of the second degree. A second-degree felony carries a maximum sentence of 10 years of incarceration and a $25,000 fine. If a person is in the business of buying or selling property and they possess a stolen firearm, then the person is charged with a first-degree felony. A first-degree felony has a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail and a $25,000 fine.
If the property that was stolen is an automobile, airplane, motorcycle, motorboat, or other motor-propelled vehicles, then the theft is graded as a felony of the third degree. A third-degree felony has a maximum sentence of seven years of incarceration and a $15,000 fine.
Are There Defenses To A Theft Charge?
As with any criminal charge, your attorneys will evaluate the facts and circumstances surrounding the case and the evidence and determine if you have a defense. A criminal defense to a theft charge could include:
- Lack of intent to deprive the rightful owner of the property
- Intended to search for the rightful owner of the property and return it to them
- Lack of criminal intent due to age
- Duress caused the taking
- Property was not in fact stolen (i.e. the rightful owner may have lost it)
- Entrapment by law enforcement
- Consent by the owner to take property
Each of these defenses could greatly impact the determination by the prosecutor to drop the case or reduce the charge. A viable defense could result in an acquittal at trial.
Do I Need An Attorney If Arrested For Theft?
While you always have the right to defend yourself, theft of any kind should not be taken lightly. It is a crime and can have an impact on your life and that of your family. Theft charges can impact your life in several ways such as your career or ability to apply for jobs, involve jail or prison time, and/or pay large fines and penalties.
The experienced lawyers at Grace Legal have backgrounds as public defenders and years of experience as private criminal defense attorneys. They have seen all levels of theft cases and represented clients across all of Central Pennsylvania. The Grace Team will be honest and transparent with you about your rights, defenses, and possible outcome while they aggressively protect you and your family.