Were you or a loved one recently arrested for a theft offense in West Chester, PA? An experienced West Chester theft crimes lawyer at DiCindio Law, LLC can fight to have your charges reduced or dismissed. Contact our law offices in Chester County, Pennsylvania at (610) 430-3535.
Our legal team is led by a former prosecutor with years of experience handling criminal law cases. We take an aggressive approach in every case to secure the best outcome possible.
If you under investigation for committing a theft crime, contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a lawyer who can help. You could be facing jail time, financial penalties, and damage to your reputation, so don’t wait on this.
How DiCindio Law, LLC Can Help if I Was Arrested for a Theft Crime in Chester County, PA?
Conviction on theft charges can carry serious consequences. Even misdemeanor-level crimes in Pennsylvania can lead to jail time. The last thing you need is a criminal record.
At DiCindio Law, LLC, we’re committed to providing the high-quality legal representation you deserve. Our West Chester criminal defense attorneys handle all types of theft crime cases–regardless of how complex.
Our founding attorney is a former prosecutor who knows the tactics that police and prosecutors will use against you. When you hire us, you’ll have an attorney to:
- Protect your constitutional rights
- Gather and analyze all of the evidence that could establish reasonable doubt or prove your innocence
- Hire experts who can help with valuation issues
- Negotiate with prosecutors to have the charges reduced or dismissed
- Explore the possibility of ARD programs
Many theft cases are resolved through the plea bargaining process. However, accepting a plea isn’t always in your best interests. Our West Chester criminal defense attorneys are always ready to fight for your rights in court.
Ready to learn more? Call our law firm to schedule a free consultation.
Overview of Theft Crimes in Pennsylvania
There are many different categories of theft offenses in Pennsylvania. Under Pennsylvania law, you can be found guilty of theft for taking someone else’s money or property without their permission by force, fraud, or deception.
Our lawyers in Chester County handle all types of criminal theft crimes cases, including:
- Retail theft
- Theft by unlawful taking
- Receiving stolen property
If you’re facing criminal charges, don’t wait to get legal advice. Call for a free case evaluation today.
Retail Theft or Shoplifting
Shoplifting is one of the most common theft offenses charged in the state of Pennsylvania. The severity of the retail theft charge will depend on:
- The value of the property stolen, and
- Whether you have a prior history of committing theft crimes
Often, valuation is the most important issue if you’re facing retail theft charges. However, you can be charged with retail theft for:
- Taking merchandise from a retail store
- Causing retail merchandise to be transferred or carried away
- Altering or changing the price tags or labels on retail merchandise
- Transferring retail merchandise into a different container
- Under-ringing merchandise
- Destroying or deactivating inventory control tags or security strips
In any retail theft case, the prosecution must prove that you intended to deprive the merchant of the possession, use, or benefit of such merchandise without paying full retail value for the property.
Retail theft is graded based on the value of the property and the offender’s past history, as follows:
- Summary offense if the property is worth under $150 and the defendant is a first offender
- Second-degree misdemeanor if the property is worth under $150 and the defendant is a second-time offender
- First-degree misdemeanor if the property is worth $150 or more and the defendant is a first or second-time offender
- Third-degree felony if the defendant has two or more prior convictions, regardless of the property value
- Third-degree felony if the property is worth $1,000 or more
- Third-degree felony if the stolen property is a firearm or vehicle
If a scheme or course of conduct is involved, all of the stolen property will be aggregated to determine the property value.
Theft by Unlawful Taking
Theft by unlawful taking is the general theft statute in Pennsylvania. You can be found guilty of theft by unlawful taking if you take another person’s personal property with an intent to deprive the rightful owner of that property.
You can also be convicted of theft by unlawful taking if you transfer or exercise unlawful control over someone else’s immovable property. To convict, the prosecution must prove that you intended to benefit yourself or another by depriving the rightful owner of that property.
Theft by Deception
Theft by deception is a type of fraud. You can be convicted if you:
- Create or reinforce some type of false impression, including false impressions about the law, value, intention, or another state of mind
- Prevent another from acquiring information that would affect their judgment of a transaction
- Fail to correct a false impression that you previously created or reinforced, or that you know is influencing another if you have a fiduciary or confidential relationship.
Under the law, the prosecutor can’t use the mere fact that you didn’t perform a promise as proof that you never intended to perform that promise.
Theft by Extortion
The prosecution can convict you of extortion if they can prove you intentionally took or withheld someone else’s property by threatening to:
- Commit another criminal offense
- Accuse someone else of a criminal offense
- Expose some type of embarrassing or harmful secret
- Take or withhold action as an official
- Cause an official to take or withhold action
- Bring about or continue a strike, boycott, or other collective unofficial action, if the property is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act
- Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to the legal claim or defense of another
- Inflict any other harm
Extortion is often a type of white collar crime. However, that doesn’t make it any less serious. The severity of the charge will depend on the value of the property taken.
Robbery is a serious offense. You can be convicted of robbery if, during the course of committing a theft, you:
- Inflict serious bodily injury on another person
- Threaten someone with serious bodily injury or intentionally puts someone in fear of immediate serious bodily injury
- Commit or threaten to commit another first or second-degree felony
- Inflict, or threaten to cause, bodily injury
- Physically take or remove the property through use of force
- Take or demand money from a financial institution
Robbery can be classified as a first, second, or third-degree felony under Pennsylvania state law.
What are the Penalties for Theft Crimes in West Chester, PA?
Theft crimes in Pennsylvania can be classified as felonies, misdemeanors, or summary offenses. A summary offense is the least serious type of theft crime. However, regardless of the grading, you could end up with a criminal record that might haunt you for years.
The Pennsylvania sentencing guidelines provide the following penalties if you’re convicted of a theft crime:
- Summary offense: between zero and 90 days in jail and up to $250 in fines
- Third-degree misdemeanor: 90 days in jail and up to $5,000 in fines
- Second-degree misdemeanor: two years in jail and up to $5,000 in fines
- First-degree misdemeanor: five years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines
- Third-degree felony: seven years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines
- Second-degree felony: ten years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines
Theft offenses are considered crimes of moral turpitude. That means you’re also likely to suffer collateral consequences if convicted. Those consequences can include:
- Immigration problems
- Difficulty finding employment
- Housing problems
- Loss of gun ownership rights
Have you been accused of stealing someone else’s property? Call an experienced Chester County theft crimes attorney for help today. With DiCindio Law, LLC by your side, you can rest assured that you’ll have the most aggressive defense possible.
What Defenses Can Be Raised if I’m Accused of a Theft Crime?
Many legal defenses are available in theft crimes cases. The exact defense strategy that will work in your case depends on the facts.
Our theft defense lawyers may recommend any of the following strategies:
- Challenges to the value of the stolen goods
- Claims that you had a right to take the property
- Lack of intent to commit the offense
- Lack of intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property or property value
- You believed you had the owner’s consent to use the property
- False accusations
- Mistaken identity
- Constitutional violations
If the prosecution obtained evidence in your case illegally, our lawyers can file a motion to have the evidence or statements excluded. Regardless of the circumstances, we’ll work behind the scenes to negotiate reduced charges or a dismissal if possible.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a West Chester Theft Crimes Lawyer
Were you or a loved one accused of theft in West Chester, PA? Call DiCindio Law, LLC for a free case review today. An experienced West Chester theft crimes lawyer can fight to protect your reputation and your future.