In Pennsylvania, the severity of a theft charge depends largely upon two factors: the value of the item stolen and the number of previous convictions the alleged thief has on their criminal record. If you have been charged with misdemeanor theft in the Pittsburgh area, you will need the assistance of an aggressive Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney to help you retain your rights.
Pennsylvania law defines theft differently based on the movability and tangibility of the property stolen, or the immovability and intangibility of the same.
Below is a more complete description of the characteristics:
- Immovability: An example of immovable property is an interest in real estate. If a person owns immovable property and someone else unlawfully transfers or exercises control over it to a third party or to himself, misdemeanor theft of immovable property has occurred. The same holds true for an interest in the immovable property.
- Movability: An example of movable property is an antique grandfather clock. If a person steals the clock (or any other movable property) from someone else’s home, business, or yard, or has someone else steal it for him, with the intention of keeping the owner from having it, he is guilty of misdemeanor theft of movable property. This also covers exerting control over movable property illegally.
As stated above, theft is classified based on the value of the items stolen and the alleged thief’s prior record. It is important to note that the below listing of theft offense classes does not include thefts that are a part of aggravating circumstances, which are dealt with much more harshly.
- Misdemeanor of the third degree: value of items stolen is under $50; carries fines of $2,500 or less and no more than a year in jail
- Misdemeanor of the second degree: value of items stolen is more than $50 but less than $200; carries fines of up to $5,000 and up to two years in jail
- Misdemeanor of the first degree: value of items stolen is more than $200 AND the theft does not fall under the category of a felony; carries fines of up to $10,000 and up to five years in jail
There are several defenses available to people charged with misdemeanor theft. One of these is to claim that you are the rightful owner of the property. For example, if you were accused of taking a neighbor’s lawnmower, your Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney may be able to prove that the neighbor had borrowed the mower and not returned it, and that you are, in fact, the actual owner of the equipment.
Another possible defense is intoxication. If the theft you are accused of happened while you were drinking, it can be argued that you did not intend to take anything and that the alcohol clouded your mind.
Also, in the case of an item having more than one owner, if one of the owners consented to you taking it, an attorney can prove it to the court. Many times, theft charges are negated by consent.A Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
If you find yourself charged with misdemeanor theft, don’t try to face the justice system alone. The attorneys at Logue Law Group have years of training and experience to guide them, and they will use the skills they have gained to protect your rights and get you the best outcome possible for your case.
Logue Law Group serves Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas, including the states of Ohio and West Virginia.
Don’t wait to call! Give yourself the best chance at a good future by contacting Logue Law Group today.Want to Learn More About Misdemeanor Theft in Pennsylvania?
A definition and description of misdemeanor theft can be found in Chapter 18, Section 3921 of the Pennsylvania Criminal Code.