If you are facing a theft/larceny charge, you should not hesitate to contact our criminal defense attorney</span></span>, John B. Pike. The more time that passes, the less time we have to start immediately building your defense.
Understanding Theft and LarcenyTheft and larceny are often used interchangeably, but they have distinct legal definitions. In Pennsylvania, theft is defined as taking someone else’s property without their consent or permission. This can include physical items, money, services, or even intellectual property. Larceny, on the other hand, specifically refers to the theft of personal property. In simpler terms, not all forms of theft are larceny, but all forms of larceny are theft.
Types of Theft and Larceny ChargesTheft and larceny charges in Pennsylvania are divided into different degrees based on the value of the stolen property. The higher the value, the more severe the charge and potential punishment. These degrees include:
- Petty theft: Property valued at less than $50
- Misdemeanor theft: Property valued between $50 and $200
- Felony theft: Property valued over $200
Degrees of Theft in PennsylvaniaIn Pennsylvania, theft is further classified into different degrees, primarily based on the value of the stolen item.
- First-Degree Theft: This is the most serious form of theft in Pennsylvania, often constituting a felony. It involves the theft of property valued at more than $2,000, or the theft of a motor vehicle, regardless of its value.
- Second-Degree Theft: This is considered the most minor felony charge for this crime. It’s second-degree theft if the value of the stolen property is more than $200 but less than $2,000.
- Third-Degree Theft: This type of theft is typically classified as a misdemeanor. It involves the theft of property valued at less than $200. It’s worth noting that even at this level, a theft charge can have serious consequences and should not be taken lightly.
Punishments for Theft and Larceny ChargesIf you are convicted of theft or larceny in Pennsylvania, the severity of your punishment will depend on the degree of the charge. Petty theft is typically punished with fines and community service, while felony theft can result in prison time. In addition to legal consequences, a theft or larceny charge can also have a lasting impact on your reputation and future job opportunities.
Legal Defenses Against a Theft ChargeBeing accused of theft doesn’t necessarily mean you are guilty. There are several potential legal defenses that an experienced attorney can use to fight your charge, such as:
- Lack of intent: You may have taken the property by mistake or without knowing it was stolen.
- Mistaken identity: You may have been incorrectly identified as the thief.
- Alibi: Someone can attest that you were somewhere else at the time of the crime being committed.
- Claim of Ownership: One possible defense is asserting a good faith belief that the accused had a rightful claim to the property in question. This argument suggests that the accused did not intend to steal, but rather believed the property was rightfully theirs.
- Consent: Another defense is to prove that the property owner gave consent for the accused to take the property. This may involve presenting evidence of prior agreements, conversations, or relationships that support this claim.
- Intoxication: In some cases, if it can be proven that the accused was involuntarily intoxicated and did not have the intent to steal due to their impaired state, it could be used as a defense.
- Entrapment: If the accused was induced by law enforcement to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed, it may be possible to use entrapment as a defense.
How Theft Attorney John B. Pike Can HelpDealing with a theft or larceny charge can be overwhelming and confusing. That’s where an experienced attorney comes in. Attorney John B. Pike will thoroughly review your case, gather evidence, and build a strong defense on your behalf.
Don’t face theft or larceny charges alone. Contact Attorney John B. Pike today to discuss your case and receive the expert legal representation you deserve.