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The Penalties For Theft Of A Motor Vehicle Are Harsh In Pennsylvania

April 05, 2022

At the end of January, a local Police Department released a statement saying they are searching for a trailer that was stolen in Bucks County. The trailer was stolen from a business some time between early December and early January. Law enforcement is offering a reward to anyone who can provide information about the missing trailer.

If the person or people who stole the trailer is found, they will likely face very harsh penalties. Due to the fact that the trailer is registered as a vehicle, the individual will likely face charges of theft of a motor vehicle, which comes with very harsh penalties throughout Pennsylvania.

Theft of a Motor Vehicle is Always a Felony in Pennsylvania

Other cases of theft in Pennsylvania are classified as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the value of the goods stolen. When it comes to theft of a motor vehicle though, the offense is always considered a felony of the third degree. For those convicted, this offense is punishable with between three and a half to seven years in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000.

It is also not uncommon for people to be charged with additional criminal offenses when they have been accused of stealing a motor vehicle. The most common of these include unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, which is a misdemeanor of the second degree. Other charges that could pertain to a case involving theft of a motor vehicle include receiving stolen property of a motor vehicle, a felony of the third degree, as well as criminal mischief involving a motor vehicle, which is classified as a misdemeanor of the second degree.

When other charges are brought, a person will face additional penalties and could end up spending several decades in jail and paying thousands of dollars in fines. As with all other criminal offenses in the state, convicted individuals will also have a permanent criminal record that will follow them for the rest of their life.

Penalties for a Subsequent Offense

Pennsylvania law does not specifically address second, third, and other subsequent offenses when it comes to theft of a motor vehicle and the penalties one will face. However, as with any other subsequent criminal offense, the penalties will become much harsher if an individual has a previous offense on their criminal record.

For a first offense, individuals are often eligible for a diversion program, which could help them avoid jail time. After a second or third offense though, this possibility is usually not available and an individual will face a lengthy prison sentence. This is one reason it is so important individuals speak to an Allentown criminal defense lawyer that can help them beat the charges.

Call Our Criminal Defense Lawyer in Allentown Today

If you have been charged with theft of a motor vehicle, or any other criminal offense, our Allentown criminal defense lawyers at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim are here to help with your case. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.



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