In Pennsylvania, theft charges can arise from a variety of different scenarios. Masorti Law Group has years of experience working with clients to get the best results possible on all types of theft cases. Our attorneys are aggressive defenders, who are confident in their abilities at trial. Theft charges can have serious consequences, and aside from a fine or prison sentence, may remain on your public criminal record permanently. Pennsylvania law includes a large number of theft crimes, and each statute has minor differences from the others. It is crucial to understand the charges you are facing and the facts of the case in order to prepare a strong defense early. The most common theft crimes in Pennsylvania are discussed below.
Burglary is a crime with a twist. You don't actually need to steal anything to be convicted of burglary. Burglary occurs when a person enters a building with the intent to commit a crime inside. The crime could be anything, ranging from theft to rape or murder. The key in getting a conviction for burglary is proof that you entered the building with the intent to commit a crime, not whether a crime was actually committed. It is possible to defend against this crime by arguing that you had no intent to commit a crime, the property was abandoned, you had the right to be there, or that the premises were open to the public. Burglary is most often charged as a felony, which makes it a very serious crime and a conviction can mean a significant prison sentence. You need a knowledgeable attorney who is not afraid of going to trial to help you defeat a burglary charge.
Theft by Unlawful Taking occurs when a person unlawfully takes movable property that does not belong to him or her, with the intent to deprive the victim of that property. To be guilty, the person must have consciously wanted this result, meaning it cannot simply be an accident. This can happen in a wide variety of situations. It could be as simple as taking a friend's phone charger without their permission because you think they have a few more than they need. The value of what was stolen is often a key factor in determining whether you will be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. If what was taken is worth less than $2,000, you will be facing a misdemeanor charge. If the property taken is worth more than $2,000 (or is a firearm), you will be facing a felony charge. Just because this could be only a minor offense does not mean that it will not have a serious impact on your life. An experienced lawyer can develop a defense that fits the unique facts of your case and prevent such charges from resulting in a conviction that stays on your criminal record.
A person can be convicted of Receiving Stolen Property if they received, retained, or disposed of property knowing that it was stolen or believing that it was probably stolen. A charge for receiving stolen property can be defended against, though, if you received, retained, or disposed of the property with the intent to get it back to the true owner. If you are found guilty and are also found to be in the business of buying or selling stolen property, that fact will affect the penalty imposed at sentencing. The crime becomes a felony if this finding is made. It is important to have a skilled defense attorney to fight this charge and defend you in court.
Robbery is a theft that involves serious bodily injury, a theft that involves a threat or fear of serious bodily injury, or a theft that occurs while committing another crime. Because robbery takes place during the course of a theft, the theft or attempted theft (as described above) must be proven first. It is important to remember that theft and robbery are different, because this can be key in arguing that no robbery occurred because no theft occurred. Because robbery is a felony, it can have very serious implications. Robbery can result from a range of situations, for example, snatching someone's purse and running off with it. As long as that person felt as if bodily injury was threatened, robbery can be charged. Robbery is a very fact-specific crime and it is important to get an aggressive and knowledgeable defense attorney on the case quickly.
Retail Theft most commonly occurs when merchandise is stolen from a store with the intent to take it for your own. A classic example of retail theft is shoplifting clothes from a clothing store. Just as with Theft by Unlawful Taking, retail theft can be either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the value of the goods. If the merchandise is worth over $2,000, it is a felony. If the merchandise is worth less than $2,000, it is a misdemeanor. Just as with other crimes, though, simply pleading guilty to get the process over with can have serious implications. A talented defense attorney can argue on your behalf to prevent aggravation or inconvenience down the road when a background check is needed for potential jobs, admission to a university, or for other reasons.
If you have been charged with a stolen property crime, you can count on the attorneys at Masorti Law Group to put our knowledge and experience to work for you to get the best result possible. Contact Us Now to learn more about how we can help.