The crime of theft has both minimal and severe punishment and relies heavily on the value of the stolen property. The attorney you choose to defend you is very important because you could be facing harsh prison terms and fines. You need an experienced and dedicated Philadelphia theft attorney to fight on your behalf.
Degrees of Theft
The classifying and severity of the crime of theft is primarily determined by the value of the item and the number of prior theft offenses the defendant committed in the past. There is a distinction between stealing from a store and taking property in Pennsylvania. Shoplifting, taking merchandise from a store, is categorized as retail theft.
Generally, the greater the worth of the stolen item, the more severe the charge’s grading, and the higher the imprisonment and fines allowed by law.
If the property value is less than $50, then the charge is theft is a third-degree misdemeanor and punishable by up to one year imprisonment and a $2,500 maximum fine.
If the value of the property is between $50 and $200, then the theft charge is graded as a second-degree misdemeanor with a sentence of no more than two years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
If the property value is greater than $200 but less than or equal to $2,000, then the theft charge is a misdemeanor in the first degree punishable by up to five years imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
If the property is valued between $2,000 and $100,000, then it is considered a misdemeanor of the first degree, with a maximum prison term of seven years and a fine up to $15,000.
If the property value is at least $100,000 but does not exceed $500,000, the theft charge is graded as a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine no greater than $25,000.
Theft of property valued at $500,000 or more is a first-degree felony charge and carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000.
Harsher Penalties for Certain Theft Cases
Theft crimes that involve a firearm are subject to severe punishment. Stealing a firearm or receiving a firearm that was stolen is automatically a second-degree felony. If the person charged with possession of a stolen firearm is employed in the business of purchasing and selling property, then the person faces a first-degree felony offense. If the stolen property is a motor-propelled means of transportation, such as an airplane, motorboat, or automobile, then the theft grade is a third-degree felony.
Consult with an Experienced Theft Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with the crime of theft, it is important you hire an attorney as soon as possible. The more time we have to prepare your defense, the stronger your defense will be. van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin are accomplished defense attorneys who care about your freedom. Contact a Philadelphia theft defense attorney to schedule a free initial consultation. We will work vigilantly to protect your freedom and reputation. Call us at (215) 486-0123 or contact us online to schedule an appointment in our downtown Philadelphia office.