A theft conviction can have a substantial impact on your life. The conviction can mean jail time, fines, and a tarnished reputation. However, you may be able to avoid or charges or get them reduced if your defense is strong. A Berks County theft crimes lawyer can bolster your defense and help you fight these charges.
McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. represents clients like you, and our goal is to help our clients achieve the best possible outcomes for their cases. If you need help with your case, contact our firm today and set up a free consultation with us.
We Can Take on Just About Any Case
Our firm is able to handle burglary cases, grand theft cases, and other cases. Although every case is different, for each case, we can have similar methods for defending our clients.
Burglary and Shoplifting Cases
Burglary or shoplifting charges can be filed even if no items were actually stolen. Generally, burglary is trespassing on another person’s property with the intent to steal or commit another crime, whereas shoplifting is entering a commercial establishment with the intent to steal property. Pennsylvania Title 18 § 3502 outlines the definition and grading of burglary offenses.
However, with shoplifting, stealing something impulsively may be considered either petty theft or grand theft.
There are some common defenses for burglary and shoplifting cases. These defenses include:
- Explaining how the individual believed they had a claim to the item(s) they took or otherwise belonged to them
- Explaining that the individual did not intend to commit a crime when they entered a property
- Showing that there is a lack of evidence against the individual, or that the evidence isn’t sound
- Proving through evidence that the individual did not commit the crime
- Evidence could include security camera footage, testimonies, and other evidence
Felony and Misdemeanor Theft
Generally, petty theft is taking relatively inexpensive property, whether by larceny, embezzlement, or a different form of illegal obtainment. Petty thefts are misdemeanor charges. Grand theft is taking expensive property illegally, and it is typically a felony charge. Grand theft is a much more serious crime than petty theft, so the penalties are more severe.
Some common defenses for petty theft and grand theft cases are:
- Explaining that the item(s) the defendant took was legally theirs
- Explaining that the defendant didn’t intend to steal the item(s)
- Showing that the owner of the property allowed the defendant to take the item(s)
- Proving the accusation is false
- Showing that the theft was not fully completed (Showing that the item(s) was taken from its owner, was in your possession after it was taken, and was moved to another location)
Receiving Stolen Property
If a person buys, sells, conceals, or receives property that’s known to be stolen, this is illegal per Pennsylvania Title 18 § 3925. Common defenses for these cases can be:
- Explaining that the accused person was unaware that the property was stolen
- Showing that the accused person didn’t actually receive any property
- Explaining that the accused person’s actions were unintentional
- Explaining that there was another kind of misunderstanding (For example, if the accused person was under the impression they had explicit permission to take an item)
There’s a Lot More We Can Do to Defend You
A lawyer from our firm can help in many ways. In addition to defending your actions, we can also:
- Investigate the alleged theft
- Identify and interview any witnesses
- Examine the validity of the state’s case against you
- Investigate your arrest to see if it was lawful
- Argue that you’re a victim of entrapment
- Help correctly value the item(s) in question to prevent unfair and excessive penalties
We May Be Able to Reduce the Charges Against You
If you did commit a theft crime, we may be able to defend you in other ways and even alleviate the charges against you. We can:
- Fight to have your charges reduced: For instance, if the item(s) in your possession did not exceed $50, your lawyer could fight to have your charge reduced to a third-degree misdemeanor.
- Push for probation instead of jail time: Probation may be preferable to you over jail time or fines. If you qualify for and choose probation, we’ll make sure the terms of your sentence are fair.
- See if you qualify for an expunction of the charge: An expunction is when your charge is hidden or even removed from your criminal record. You could receive an expunction if the offense you committed was your only offense.
How Are Theft Crimes in Pennsylvania Treated?
According to Pennsylvania Title 18, Chapter 39, theft can be anything from a simple misdemeanor to a serious felony. A lawyer from our firm can handle any kind of theft charge.
Misdemeanor theft charges include:
- A third-degree misdemeanor: Any theft in which the value of property is less than $50.00
- A second-degree misdemeanor: A theft in which the value of property is $50.00 or more, but less than $200.00
- A first-degree misdemeanor: Theft in which the value of property is over $200.00, but less than $2000.00 (the theft cannot meet any criteria of a felony)
A felony can include:
- A third-degree felony: A theft of property worth over $2,000.00 (or involving either a motorized vehicle or the reselling of stolen property)
- A second-degree felony: A theft of property worth over $100,000.00 but less than $500,000.00 (or involving either a firearm or a disaster)
- A first-degree felony: A theft of property worth over $500,000.00 (or involving any firearms)
Contact Us for a Berks County Theft Crimes Lawyer
A theft conviction can affect your ability to pass a background check for a job or even obtain a loan for school, and there could be fines and jail time. However, a lawyer from McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. may be able to eliminate or reduce your charges. During the legal process, your lawyer will be accessible via phone, email, text, and/or social media.
Regardless of whether you committed an offense, you deserve to be treated fairly. Call our firm today to set up a free consultation with us. You can come see us if you live in Berks County, PA or a nearby community.