Some theft charges in Pennsylvania are felony offenses. Others are misdemeanor charges. All theft charges can have serious consequences. An offender may face jail time, fines, and a criminal record that can impact their ability to get a job and more. Understanding when a charge is a felony or misdemeanor can help you determine how to fight the charges. Our criminal defense attorney team explains theft charges.
What amount of theft is a felony in PA?
$2,000.00 or more is felony theft in PA. If the value of the property taken is $2,000.00 or more, the offender faces felony charges. In addition, if the offense involves a motor vehicle, boat, or airplane, the offense is a felony. A third-degree felony in Pennsylvania is punishable by up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
What is petty theft in Pennsylvania?
Petty theft in Pennsylvania is theft that involves property valued at less than $50. An offender faces a third-degree misdemeanor charge. The maximum penalties are up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. There are circumstances that may enhance the charges like if the offense involves a robbery or organized crime. If property of a larger value is involved, the theft maybe a second or first-degree misdemeanor charge or even a felony offense.
Theft charges in Pennsylvania
Theft laws in Pennsylvania are found in Pa. Const. Stat. Ann. 3901-3935.1. Offenses are categorized by the value of the property involved, the circumstances of the offense, and the nature of the items taken. The laws cover retail theft, theft by deception, motor vehicle theft, and offenses involving computers. Even if an offense falls into one category based on the value of the property, a different law may apply based on the items taken and the circumstances of the theft.
Fighting theft charges in Pennsylvania
If you’re facing theft charges in Pennsylvania, there are a number of things to consider. First, remember that you have a right to a trial. The state has the burden of proof. Theft may not always be as clear as it seems since it’s up to the state to prove the defendant’s intent. There may be multiple ways to challenge the evidence against you including examining witness testimony, the state’s valuation of the property, and proof that the defendant either took the property or exercised unlawful control over it. Your criminal defense attorney team can help you present the information in an effective manner.
In addition, you may be able to take advantage of a deferred sentence or intervention program. For first-time offenders facing misdemeanor theft offenses, a deferral may be an advantageous way to resolve the charges. Receiving an offer of a deferral is not guaranteed. Your criminal defense attorney can help you investigate the charges against you. If you are a candidate for a special dispensation of the charges, your attorney can help you request this kind of resolution. Working with a criminal defense attorney team helps ensure that you resolve your case in the most advantageous way and do everything you can to fight the theft charges against you.