Pennsylvania Theft Crimes

Pa. Theft Crimes - The Basics

There are many different PA theft crimes.  Some categories include:

  • Theft by unlawful taking or disposition
  • Theft by deception
  • Theft of property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake
  • Receiving stolen property
  • Retail theft
  • Forgery
  • Identity Theft

Some PA theft crimes are graded as summary offenses (the level of a traffic ticket) but others can be misdemeanors or felony offenses if the amount involved is over a certain amount, if one has been convicted of a theft offense in the past, or if other circumstances are present.

Theft by unlawful taking or disposition:  One can commit a theft with movable or immovable property.  With respect to movable property, a person is guilty of theft if he unlawfully takes, or exercises unlawful control over, movable property of another with the intent to deprive him of the property.  With respect to immovable property, a person is guilty of theft if he unlawfully transfers, or exercises unlawful control over property of another or any interest therein with intent to benefit himself or another not entitled to the property.

Theft by deception:  A person is guilty of theft if he intentionally obtains or withholds property of another by deception.  Deception is found when a person intentionally:

-creates or reinforces a false impression regarding law, value, or intention


-prevents another from acquiring information which would affect his judgment of a transaction; or


-fails to correct a false impression which the deceiver previously created or reinforced, or which the deceiver knows to be influencing another person

Theft of property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake:  A person who comes into control of property of another that he knows to have been lost, mislaid, or delivered under a mistake as to the nature or amount of the property or the identity of the recipient is guilty of theft if, with intent to deprive the owner, he fails to take reasonable measures to restore the property to the person entitled to have it.

Receiving stolen property:  A person is guilty of theft if he intentionally receives, retains, or disposes of moveable property of another, knowing it has been stolen, or believing that it has probably been stolen, unless the property is received, retained, or disposed of with intent to restore it to the owners.

Punishment: If the property was taken without force or threat of force and the amount involved was less than $50, the offense constitutes a misdemeanor of the third degree.  If the property taken without force or threat of force and the amount involved was $50 or more but less than $200, the offense constitutes a misdemeanor of the second degree.  Other thefts not specified above constitute a misdemeanor of the first degree. 


Theft offenses constitute a felony of the third degree if the amount involved exceeds $2,000 or if the property stolen is an automobile, airplane, motorcycle, or motorboat, or, in the case of receiving stolen property, the receiver is in the business of buying or selling stolen property.  Theft offenses constitute a felony of the second degree if the offense is committed during a manmade or natural disaster, the property stolen is a firearm, or, in the case of receiving stolen property, the property received is a firearm and the receiver is in the business of buying or selling stolen property.  If force is used or threatened during a theft it will generally be prosecuted as a Robbery.

Retail theft:  The rules for Retail Theft are different than those for the other theft offenses.  It is worth noting that one can be charged and convicted of retail theft even if he does not take anything from the store without paying for the item.  The grading of retail theft crimes is slightly different than other theft crimes ---- for more information, see the next entry.

One is guilty of a retail theft if he does one of the following:

-takes possession, carries away, transfers or causes to be carried away or transferred, any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or retail establishment with the intention of depriving the merchant of the possession without paying the full retail value


-alters, transfers or removes any label, price tag marking, or any markings which aid in determining value affixed to any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale in a store or retail establishment and attempts to purchase such merchandise personally or in consort with another at less than the full retail value with the intention of depriving the merchant of the full retail value of such merchandise or

-transfers any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or retail establishment from the container in which it should be displayed to any other container with intent to deprive the merchant of all or some part of the full retail value or

-under-rings merchandise with the intention of depriving the merchant of the full retail or

-destroys, removes, renders inoperative or deactivates any inventory control tag, security strip or mechanism designed to prevent a theft with the intention of depriving the merchant or the possession without paying the full retail value

There is a presumption that any person intentionally concealing un-purchased property either on the premises or outside the premises concealed the property with the intention of depriving the merchant of the possession, use or benefit of such merchandise without paying the full retail value.  The same presumption applies if a person conceals or causes to be concealed the un-purchased merchandise on another person or among another person’s belongings. 

It is important to hire a lawyer to handle a retail theft charge—even if it is a first offense.  A conviction for retail theft can remain on your criminal record and can affect your future.  Also, if it happens again, the penalty increases.  Don’t regret not hiring a lawyer to work for your best interests and negotiate a lenient punishment or not guilty verdict.

There may be an opportunity to reduce the charges or pay full restitution and have the charges to be dropped.  Another option might be a discretionary program called Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, also known as ARD.  If you are admitted to the program you will pay a fine, receive probation for 1 to 2 years and perform community service.  If you successfully complete the program, the charge will not be placed on your record.  You will be able to honestly admit to having no criminal conviction.  Consulting with an attorney before making any important decisions is vital.

If you are facing felony or misdemeanor theft charges in the Greater Philadelphia area, call or email the Law Office of Kevin Mark Wray, an experienced criminal defense attorney in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Call or email Criminal Defense Attorney Kevin Mark Wray today. It is important to start working on your defense right away.

Law Office of Kevin Mark Wray
200 West Front Street
Media, PA 19063

(610) 800-5487 (mobile)
(610) 810-2999 (office)
(610) 566-1002 (fax)

This web posting is for general information and does not contain a full legal analysis of the matters presented.  It should not be construed as legal advice or relied upon as legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances.  The invitation to contact Kevin M. Wray, Esquire is not a solicitation to provide professional services and should not be construed as an availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction in which Kevin Wray is not licensed to practice.

Shoplifting: The grading of retail theft crimes

In Pennsylvania, the rules for "shoplifting"  are different than those for the other theft offenses.  It is worth noting that one can be charged and convicted of retail theft even if he does not take anything from the store without paying for the item.  Theft offenses are graded by the value of the stolen property and the record of the accused.

If the value of the stolen property is less than $150, a first offense is treated as a summary offense, a second offense is a misdemeanor of the second degree, and a third offense or subsequent offense is a felony of the third degree.

If the value of the stolen property is more than $150 but less than $2,000, first and second offenses are misdemeanors of the first degree, and a third offense or subsequent offense is a felony of the third degree.

If the value of the stolen property is more than $2,000, the charge is a felony of the third degree.

It is important to hire a lawyer to handle a retail theft charge—even if it is a first offense.  A conviction for retail theft can remain on your criminal record and can affect your future.  Also, if it happens again, the penalty increases.  Don’t regret not hiring a lawyer to work for your best interests and negotiate a lenient punishment or not guilty verdict.

If you are facing felony or misdemeanor theft charges in the Greater Philadelphia area, call or email the Law Office of Kevin Mark Wray, an experienced criminal defense attorney in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Call or email Criminal Defense Attorney Kevin Mark Wray today. It is important to start working on your defense right away.

Law Office of Kevin Mark Wray
200 West Front Street
Media, PA 19063

(610) 800-5487 (mobile)
(610) 810-2999 (office)
(610) 566-1002 (fax)

This web posting is for general information and does not contain a full legal analysis of the matters presented.  It should not be construed as legal advice or relied upon as legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances.  The invitation to contact Kevin M. Wray, Esquire is not a solicitation to provide professional services and should not be construed as an availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction in which Kevin Wray is not licensed to practice.

 

Robbery

Being accused of robbery in Pennsylvania is a very serious felony crime and can involve major consequences; being convicted of this crime will almost certainly lead to incarnation and loss of career and reputation.  Therefore, if you or someone you know has been arrested for robbery, or is currently being investigated for robbery, you need advice from a criminal defense lawyer who is experienced in handling robbery crimes.  Criminal Defense Attorney Kevin Mark Wray will work hard to protect your rights and preserve your freedom.

The crime of robbery is distinguished from that of Simple Theft by the former's requirement of the use or threat of force.  In the absence of force, however slight, or threat of injury, an unlawful taking from the person of another would constitute theft, not robbery.

The offense of robbery is graded as: (1) a felony of the first degree if the actor inflicts serious bodily injury upon another, threatens another with or intentionally puts another in fear of immediate serious bodily injury, or commits or threatens immediately to commit any felony of the first or second degree; (2) a felony of the second degree if the actor inflicts bodily injury upon another or threatens another with or intentionally puts another in fear of immediate bodily injury; (3) a felony of the second degree if the person takes or removes money from a financial institution by making a demand of an employee of the financial institution, orally or in writing with intent to deprive the financial institution thereof; (4) a felony of the third degree if the actor physically takes or removes property from the person of another by force however slight.

In dividing the degrees of robbery into gradations of possible violence and distinguishing between bodily injury and serious bodily injury, the legislature recognized that the amount of force used on, or threatened against, a robbery victim deserves separate treatment and penalty, with the actor's punishment proportional to the amount of violence used or threatened. The statute requires a jury to make a decision as to the degree of violence that the defendant intended or used in the commission of the crime.

A person is guilty of robbery if, in the course of committing a theft, he or she:

  • inflicts serious bodily injury upon another;
  • threatens another with or intentionally puts another in fear of immediate serious bodily injury;
  • commits or threatens immediately to commit any felony of the first or second degree;
  • inflicts bodily injury upon another or threatens another with or intentionally puts another in fear of immediate bodily injury; and
  • physically takes or removes property from the person of another by force however slight.

The use of or threat of force, however slight, is an essential element of the crime.  Robbery is complete if money or goods are taken in the presence of the owner by violence or by putting such person in fear of violence.

The crime of robbery must be accompanied by specific intent.  In order to be guilty of the offense, the accused must intend to commit the crime.  Therefore, defenses such as duress or coercion may be viable with the type of crime.

Due to its serious nature, the crime of robbery most likely will carry jail time, ranging from a relatively minor period of incarceration to a very significant one.  It is, therefore, imperative to hire an experienced defense attorney who understands the crime of robbery and how to defend against it. 

Criminal Defense Attorney Kevin Mark Wray understands the intricacies of robbery and the various defenses to this crime.  Attorney Kevin Mark Wray will look at the evidence thoroughly to determine the best possible defense, including, but not limited to, issues involving identification, police misconduct and other suppression issues.  Criminal Defense Attorney Kevin Mark Wray will use his knowledge and experience to aggressively pursue the best possible outcome by developing the strongest possible defense.

If you are facing robbery charges in the Greater Philadelphia area, call or email the Law Office of Kevin Mark Wray, an experienced criminal defense attorney in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Call or email Criminal Defense Attorney Kevin Mark Wray today. It is important to start working on your defense right away.

Law Office of Kevin Mark Wray
200 West Front Street
Media, PA 19063

(610) 800-5487 (mobile)
(610) 810-2999 (office)
(610) 566-1002 (fax)

This web posting is for general information and does not contain a full legal analysis of the matters presented.  It should not be construed as legal advice or relied upon as legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances.  The invitation to contact Kevin M. Wray, Esquire is not a solicitation to provide professional services and should not be construed as an availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction in which Kevin Wray is not licensed to practice.

 

Burglary

One of the most serious crimes that can be committed in Pennsylvania is burglary.  If you have been accused of burglary, Criminal Defense Attorney Kevin Mark Wray can help you understand the charges against you and will provide zealous legal representation to help you achieve the most positive results possible for your case.  Therefore, if you or someone you know has been arrested for burglary, or is currently being investigated for burglary, you need advice from a criminal defense lawyer who is experienced in handling burglary and robbery crimes.  Criminal Defense Attorney Kevin Mark Wray will work hard to protect your rights and preserve your freedom.

The charge of burglary (as well as the lesser crime of criminal trespass) is concerned with unauthorized entries (actual “breaking in” is not required) into buildings or occupied structures, or separately secured or occupied portions thereof.

Note that as defined by statute, an “occupied structure” is any structure, vehicle or place adapted for overnight accommodation of persons, or for carrying on business therein, whether or not a person is actually present.”  Burglaries of a structure adapted for overnight accommodation include homes, hotels, motels, camp structures, and house trailers (but not a fenced and locked backyard of these structures).

Note that the unauthorized entry into any building is still considered a burglary, regardless of whether or not the building is considered to be an occupied structure.  The only difference between the two types of premises is the grading of the burglary charge (as explained more fully in the following paragraph).

The offense of burglary is a felony of the first degree, unless the building, structure, or portion thereof entered is not adapted for overnight accommodation and no individual is present at the time of entry, in which case the crime is a felony of the second degree.  A felony one burglary would include any of the following scenarios: (1) the structure is adapted for overnight accommodation and no individual is present; (2) the structure is not adapted for overnight accommodation and an individual is present; or (3) the structure is adapted for overnight accommodation and an individual is present (otherwise, burglary is a felony of the second degree).

Note that Burglary and robbery are two separate and distinct offenses.  Although larceny may be involved in either, burglary is concerned primarily with entry into a building, while robbery is primarily concerned with the physical person of the victim.

Also, it is important to keep in mind that in order for a crime to be a burglary, the person unlawfully entering the building has to intend on committing a crime therein (any crime, not just theft) and that person cannot be licensed or privileged to enter.  The building also cannot be open to the public at the time the person is unlawfully entering the premises.

So, the statutory (official) definition of burglary is a person is guilty of burglary if such person enters a building or occupied structure, or separately secured or occupied portion thereof, with intent to commit a crime therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or such person is licensed or privileged to enter.

Within the context of the offense of burglary, the element of entry is satisfied if any part of the intruder's body enters the structure.

Note that actual “breaking in” is not required, as any unlawful entry of any part of the person’s body will satisfy the element of entry.

Once a defendant enters a private residence by criminal means, intent of a criminal purpose can be inferred based on the totality of the circumstances; thus, a defendant can be convicted of burglary without any allegation or proof as to what particular crime he or she intended to commit after his or her forcible entry.  So, to sustain a burglary conviction, the Commonwealth is not required to allege or prove what particular crime the defendant intended to commit after forcible entry.  In fact, forcible entry is not an element of the crime of burglary.

The crime of burglary must be accompanied by specific intent.  In order to be guilty of the offense, a defendant must enter the building or occupied structure with the intent to commit a crime.  Such intent must be formed prior to or contemporaneously with entry, not afterwards.

As long as the requisite intent to commit a crime is present, it is irrelevant to a charge of burglary whether the actor actually is able to complete the crime.

To make out the crime of burglary, the Commonwealth must show as an element of the offense the fact that the premises were not open to the public at the time of the entry.  Such a showing is required regardless of the actor's intent at the time of entry onto the premises.

It is a defense to a prosecution for burglary that the building or structure entered was abandoned.  For the purposes of this defense, an abandoned building is one that is wholly forsaken or deserted; mere nonuse for a short period of time is insufficient.  Mistake by a defendant as to the abandonment of a building or structure is not a defense.

A person who is licensed or privileged to enter a building cannot be guilty of burglary even if the entry is made with intent to commit a crime once inside.  The concepts of license and privilege encompass, among other things, such various situations as where the person or persons may naturally be expected to be on the premises often and in the natural course of their duties or habits.

Note that although the commission of a crime inside a building by an actor who is licensed or privileged to enter such structure cannot render the actor guilty of burglary, an employee may not admit a thief to the employee’s place of business, with full knowledge and intent to further the crime, and thereby license or make privileged the thief's entry, where the employer who occupies the premises would not have agreed to such an admittance.  Also, employees themselves may commit burglary if they would not reasonably be expected to be present at the time of their entry.

The element of license and privilege, as it pertains to entry into a building or occupied structure in connection with the commission of a burglary, cannot be induced by deception, such as a defendant's posing as a meter reader, or from an occupant who is intoxicated and unable to make a reasonable judgment as to the nature or harmfulness of the situation at hand.

Evidence of a defendant's mere presence at the scene of a burglary, without more, is insufficient to establish the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt.  Proof of participation is necessary for conviction. In the absence of any evidence connecting the presence of the defendant at the scene and the criminal activity, therefore, a conviction cannot stand.

Due to its serious nature, the crime of burglary will likely carry jail time, ranging from a relatively minor period of incarceration to a very significant one.  It is, therefore, imperative to hire an experienced defense attorney who understands the crime of burglary and how to defend against it.

Criminal Defense Attorney Kevin Mark Wray understands the intricacies of robbery and the various defenses to this crime.  Attorney Kevin Mark Wray will look at the evidence thoroughly to determine the best possible defense, including, but not limited to, issues involving identification, police misconduct and other suppression issues.  Criminal Defense Attorney Kevin Mark Wray will use his knowledge and experience to aggressively pursue the best possible outcome by developing the strongest possible defense.

If you are facing burglary charges in the Greater Philadelphia area, call or email the Law office of Kevin Mark Wray, an experienced criminal defense attorney in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Call or email Criminal Defense Attorney Kevin Mark Wray today. It is important to start working on your defense right away.

 

Law Office of Kevin Mark Wray
200 West Front Street
Media, PA 19063

(610) 800-5487 (mobile)
(610) 810-2999 (office)
(610) 566-1002 (fax)

This web posting is for general information and does not contain a full legal analysis of the matters presented.  It should not be construed as legal advice or relied upon as legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances.  The invitation to contact Kevin M. Wray, Esquire is not a solicitation to provide professional services and should not be construed as an availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction in which Kevin Wray is not licensed to practice.

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Amy staples | Reply 19.06.2014 01.35

How many times can a person be resentanced for receiving stolen property. My fiancee is being resentanced the third time since 2005.

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