Pennsylvania Theft Lawyer

Facing criminal charges can be a traumatic experience. In a civil case, you can be forced to pay monetary damages, but in a criminal case, your very freedom might be at stake.

This could have a disastrous impact on your career and your family. It is not enough to talk with an experienced criminal attorney who may have advised you on routine matters before. It may be vital to seek the help of Pennsylvania theft lawyers who have navigated similar charges and are ready to fight on your behalf.

Theft Charges

Theft is one of the most common criminal charges. It is generally defined as the unlawful taking of the personal property of another person or business. Taking someone’s property by violence or the threat of violence is a serious offense. Pennsylvania law also forbids larceny by deception, which it defines as obtaining property by creating or reinforcing “a false impression as to law, value, intention or other state of mind.”

If someone was contracted to perform services for another individual, and then that person claims that they took their money but did not provide the promised services, this should be an ordinary breach of contract case, but a clever prosecutor might try to define it as larceny via deceitful means, even though the law says that “evidence of failure to perform standing alone shall not be sufficient to authorize a conviction.”

State of Mind

As in most criminal cases, the state of mind of the defendant is a crucial element. Under Pennsylvania law, the prosecutor must show that the defendant had the intent to deprive the victims of their property. A Pennsylvania theft lawyer can help the individual seen evidence that combats the prosecution’s case.  However, proving a person’s state of mind can be much more difficult than proving that some action took place. One potentially successful defense strategy is to argue that the state has failed to show that the accused person acted with bad intent.

Value of Property

The greater the value of the property that was taken, the tougher the penalty. If the larceny involves property valued at $2,000 or less, the crime is generally punishable as a misdemeanor, which involves a fine of no more than $1,000 and a sentence of imprisonment of no more than 12 months.

A theft is classified as a felony if the amount involved exceeds $2,000, or if the property stolen is an automobile, airplane, motorcycle, motorboat or another motor-propelled vehicle, or in the case of theft by receiving stolen property if the receiver is in the business of buying or selling stolen property.

Facing such charges can be frightening, but it is important to remember that the prosecutors must prove all the elements of their case beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • What evidence do they have that the alleged larceny was an intentional act, as opposed to an accident or misunderstanding?
  • Is any of the testimony hearsay, which can be excluded from consideration?
  • Where all searches conducted in accordance with the requirements of the US and the Pennsylvania Constitutions?

Speaking to an Attorney

If you are facing criminal charges of theft you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to seek out advice from Pennsylvania theft lawyers who have worked in the criminal courts for years, and who know how to work aggressively to defend your rights. Do not wait another day before getting that advice.