You can be charged with theft without evidence because you can control or transfer property without a paper trail. For example, you might steal a car and leave it with a junkyard that proceeds to break the vehicle into pieces. Circumstantial evidence can place you in the car and even surmise that you brought it to the junkyard to be broken up into pieces, but there might not be any concrete evidence you committed this crime.
If the victim claims that you are exercising unlawful control over a bank account or funds that cannot be traced, you may be charged with theft based on the victim’s word and circumstantial evidence.
What are Your Rights After an Arrest?
After you are arrested, you are subject to what are known as Miranda rights. In fact, the police are now required to “Mirandize” you during an arrest so that you are advised of your rights.
According to the landmark Supreme Court decision, Miranda v. Arizona, the court found that your Fifth Amendment rights exist outside of the courtroom, meaning that Mr. Miranda should have been told what his rights were when he was arrested at home. Your Miranda rights include:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- You have the right to an attorney.
- The court will appoint an attorney to you if you cannot afford one.
If you are not advised of your rights, our team can use this fact to argue for the dismissal of your charges.
How Does the State Define Theft?
Under 18 Pa. C.S. §3922, you can be guilty of theft if you intentionally obtain or withhold property through the act of deception. This means that the defendant created a false impression in the mind of the victim, prevented the victim from obtaining their property, or took the property outright.
Under these statutory definitions, there can be:
- Theft by taking
- Theft by unlawful disposition
- Theft by deception
- Theft by property loss
- Receipt of stolen property
- Theft by not making proper disposition of funds
- Unauthorized use of vehicles
- Retail theft
- Library theft
- Theft of trade secrets
- Theft of unpublished writing or compositions
- Theft of leased property
- Theft of a motor vehicle
- Theft of secondary metal
How Does the State Define Property?
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania defines property as either movable or immovable. If the accused takes property and moves it to a new location, they can be charged with theft. The accused transfers or exercises “unlawful control” over immovable property when committing theft, so the crime looks different from the traditional idea of theft.
What is the Prosecution’s Burden of Proof?
Being charged with a crime and being convicted are two very different things. The local authorities might arrest you, believing that you have committed a crime, but that does not mean they have enough evidence for a conviction. Police departments often hope you will confess, which is why you should exercise your Fifth Amendment rights during questioning.
A court of law must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed this crime. When you retain a lawyer from our law firm to defend you, we provide a vigorous defense that casts doubt on the prosecution’s case.
What Information Can You Provide to Support Your Case?
After your arrest, you can hire a lawyer from our team to help you prove your innocence. You should not speak to anyone without your lawyer present, and you can provide information that better explains the situation or gives you an alibi. Your lawyer might speak to witnesses who can verify your story, and our team will investigate to find evidence proving your innocence.
Can Your Arrest Record Be Expunged?
When you are found not guilty, or charges against you are dropped, you have the option to request that your record be expunged.
The Pennsylvania State Police explains the criminal expungement process, which involves the following steps:
- Complete form SP 4-170.
- Mail the form to the Central Repository and send a certified check for $20.
- Send a copy of your photo ID and an affidavit when required.
You will receive your arrest record, and you can contact the local court clerk to have your record expunged. This process is often simpler when lawyers send all the documentation on behalf of their clients.
Call for a Consultation With an Attorney Today
When you are arrested or even suspected of theft without evidence, contact the McKenzie Law Firm at (610) 991-7219 for a consultation. We can review your rights and discuss how to best defend you against these charges.