Pennsylvania theft charges depend on whether the object in question is tangible and movable or intangible and immovable. In other words, if the theft involves shoplifting, buying something that has been stolen, breaking into a house and robbing it or armed robbery, it is tangible. If the theft involves immovable property, it can constitute fraud or stealing someone’s property. In either case, you need the help of an attorney to combat those charges.
Shoplifting and Its Penalties
Shoplifting in Pennsylvania means more than taking an item from a store without paying for it. It can also refer to hiding something by placing it in a different container, switching the price tag, removing the theft prevention alarm or not paying the full price. Following are the possible penalties:
- First offense: If the item is priced at under $150, you may be fined up to $300 and spend up to 90 days in jail.
- Second offense: A second offense raises your charges to a second-degree misdemeanor if the item costs under $150. The penalty for this shoplifting charge is a fine of up to $5,000 and up to two years jail time.
- Second offense: If the item costs $150 or more, it raises the charge to a misdemeanor of the first degree. This charge carried a $10,000 fine and prison term of up to five years.
Product Value Increases Penalties
You face third-degree felony theft charges if the stolen item has a value of at least $2,000 or is a vehicle, boat or other mode of transportation. This category also includes those who regularly deal in stolen merchandise. In addition, if the stolen item was a firearm or you’ve been arrested for shoplifting three or more times, you can face a $15,000 fine and as much as seven years imprisonment.
Exceptions to Theft Charges
Charges of theft tend to be based on the property’s value. However, there are exceptions to this rule. A Pennsylvania attorney who handles theft cases can attempt to have these charge lowered, especially if other charges are made in addition.
- The theft of a motor vehicle (carjacking) includes charges of kidnapping or assault.
- Misdemeanor thefts of under $50 in merchandise, which usually results in a fine of as much as $2,500 and up to one year in jail.
- Burglary that includes additional charges.
How a Pennsylvania Lawyer Can Help When You Face Theft Charges
When you are facing theft charges in Pennsylvania, a skilled criminal defense lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal process. Theft crimes are serious offenses that carry significant fines and possible incarceration. A qualified attorney who understands both state laws and the nuances of criminal law can provide invaluable advice when defending your case.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer will be able to assess every aspect of your case to determine the best course of action. This includes carefully examining police reports, witness statements, and other evidence to build a strong defense. Your attorney can also negotiate with prosecutors seeking leniency or alternative sentencing options, such as diversion programs or reduced charges.
Travis Law Firm: Theft Charge Defense
A criminal defense attorney can assist you if you have been charged with a theft crime. If you would like more information about how the Travis Law Firm can help you, please do not hesitate to contact us at (814) 277-2222. We can provide you with a free case evaluation. We can also be reached online if you prefer.