Theft By Deception Attorney
Being accused of committing theft by deception can negatively impact your life even before a trial and verdict. Pennsylvania theft by deception charges come with a high degree of stigma. Being charged with a theft offense can negatively affect your reputation, job, and your relationships with others. People around you might view you as untrustworthy and act differently around you than they did before.
If you have been charged with theft by deception, you should get help from an experienced criminal defense lawyer at DiCindio Law as soon as possible. When you have the help of an attorney who has extensive trial experience, you are likelier to achieve a better resolution to your criminal case. An attorney can work to secure a reduced sentence or a dismissal of the charges against you. Here is some information about a charge of theft by deception so that you can better understand what you might face.
What is theft by deception in Pennsylvania?
Theft by deception is found in 18 Pa.CS § 3922. Under this statute, theft by deception differs from other types of thefts in the manner in which the property is taken. You can be found guilty of theft by deception if you intentionally deceive someone else to take or withhold their property to permanently deprive them of their ownership interests. Theft by deception can be charged for the movable or immobile property.
The movable property includes anything that can be physically carried away from its owner. If you used deception to steal someone’s television set, you could be charged with theft by deception involving the movable property.
Immobile or immovable property includes fixed property that you cannot carry somewhere else. This might include real estate, land, and other similar assets.
What is deception?
The primary element of a charge of theft by deception is deceit. A prosecutor will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you deceived the property’s owner to take possession of the property.
Your deception must be intentional and could include any of the following examples:
- Intentionally creating a false impression about value, a state of mind, your intention, or a law
- Failing to disclose information that could change the other person’s judgment in a transaction
- Failing to correct a previously created false impression
Offense grading of theft by deception charges
Theft by deception charges can range from summary offenses to felonies, depending on the property you are accused of taking and its value. A summary offense may be charged if the property you took was valued at less than $50 or when the value of the property cannot be determined and is negligible. If you are convicted of a summary offense, you will face up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $300.
If the property you are accused of taking was worth from $50 up to $199, you can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. A conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to two years. If you used force or a threat to take the property, it is a first-degree misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to five years in prison.
If you stole a motor vehicle or if the value of the property you took was between $2,000 up to $499,000, it is a third-degree felony carrying a penalty of up to seven years in prison. If you stole a firearm, you can be charged with a second-degree felony carrying up to 10 years in prison.
If you stole a firearm and had the intent to buy and sell guns, your charge could be elevated to a first-degree felony. You can also face first-degree felony charges if the property was worth $500,000 or more. This conviction will result in you facing a sentence of at least 10 years.
Pre-trial diversion and theft by unlawful taking
Depending on your background and the facts of your case, you might be offered a pre-trial diversion program by the prosecutor. If you complete pre-trial diversion, it can help you to avoid time in jail and a criminal conviction. Pre-trial diversion is generally only available to people who do not have criminal records or who have very minimal records. To complete a pre-trial diversion program, you will be required to pay a fine, pay restitution, and complete some community service hours. You might also have to complete a period of probation. As long as you comply with the terms of a pre-trial diversion program, your charges will be dismissed and expunged from your record. Your attorney can talk to you about whether you might be eligible for this type of program in your case.
Why it is important to retain an experienced lawyer
A criminal defense lawyer can improve your odds of winning dismissal of your charges or of securing a more favorable sentence. A good criminal defense attorney can carefully review your case to identify problems the state has with proving the allegations against you. At DiCindio Law, we strongly believe that prosecutors must be held to their burdens of proof. If we discover problems with how the police investigated the case against you or collected evidence, your attorney might file motions to challenge the evidence against you. To learn more about your case and the options that you might have, contact us today to schedule an appointment by calling us at 610.430.3535.