Theft Charges Attorney in Pottstown, Pennsylvania
Theft is a common criminal charge in Pennsylvania. Theft often involves taking items of small value from a store, or shoplifting. However, theft of higher-value property can result in serious criminal penalties. Before pleading guilty to theft charges, make sure you understand your rights.
Pennsylvania Theft Crimes
Theft involves the unlawful taking or exercising control over the property of another. Theft can involve physically taking property, theft by deception, theft by extortion, or theft of lost property. The most common type of theft involves theft by taking something without the owner being aware at the time, such as shoplifting, stealing something out of a parked car, stealing a bike, or taking a phone or wallet out of someone's backpack or purse.
An example of theft by deception could occur when someone claims they are going to borrow something with the intent that they are never going to return it. Theft by extortion may involve threatening someone with blackmail, threatening harm, or accusing someone of a criminal offense in order to obtain the property of another.
The penalties for theft depend on the value of the stolen items, the type of stolen property, and the defendant's criminal record. Theft charges can range from a summary offense to a first-degree felony.
Value of Property
Less than $50
Misdemeanor 3 or Summary Offense
Up to 1 year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500
At least $50 but less than $200
1 to 2 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000
At least $200 up to $2,000
2.5 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
More than $2,000 but less than $100,000
3.5 to 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000
At least $100,000 but less than $500,000
5 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000
$500,000 or more
10 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000
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Shoplifting, or retail theft, involves taking merchandise from a retail store without paying for the items. Retail theft could also involve failing to pay the full retail price, such as by changing the price tags on items or putting an item into a different container to avoid paying the full price for the merchandise. Destroying security tags or other theft-prevention devices with the intent to deprive the merchant of the item is also considered retail theft.
Shoplifting an item worth less than $150 is a summary offense for a first-time offender and a second-degree misdemeanor for a second offense. Shoplifting property with a value of $150 or more is a misdemeanor 1. Retail theft involving $1,000 or more in value, or any third offense for retail theft, is a 3rd-degree felony.
Certain types of theft are considered felonies regardless of the value of the property involved. This includes theft of:
A motor vehicle
Theft during a natural disaster
A conviction for theft crimes can carry serious penalties that may affect your future even after serving your sentence. Before you plead guilty to shoplifting or larceny make sure you understand your options and your rights. Criminal defense attorney David J. Cohen is devoted to representing the people of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and surrounding areas. Contact the David J. Cohen Law Firm, LLC today for a consultation.