“Theft” is a broad term that covers many types of behavior and quantities of property. When charged with theft, the first question many defendants ask is the sort of sentence they might face upon conviction. Below, you can learn more about the many different types of theft offenses and how a skilled criminal defense attorney can help mitigate the consequences of a theft conviction.

Classification and Sentencing of Theft Offenses Under Pennsylvania Law

The Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes classify theft offenses based on the amount of the property that was taken. This amount also determines the sentencing guidelines for the offense.

  • Theft of property valued at less than $50 is a third-degree misdemeanor. The crime carries a maximum sentence of one year jail time and a fine of as much as $2,500.
  • Theft of property valued between $50 and $200 is a second-degree misdemeanor. The maximum sentence for this offense is two years in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both.
  • Theft of property valued between $200 and $2,000 is a first-degree misdemeanor. The maximum sentence for this offense is five years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both.
  • Theft of property valued between $2,000 and $100,000 is a third-degree felony. The maximum sentence for this offense is seven years in prison, a $15,000 fine, or both.
  • Theft of property valued between $100,000 and $500,000 is a second-degree felony. The maximum sentence for this offense is ten years in prison, a $25,000 fine, or both.
  • Theft of property valued at $500,000 or more is a first-degree felony. The maximum sentence for this offense is twenty years in prison, a $25,000 fine, or both.

The Many Ways Theft Can Occur

While many picture a classic theft scenario involving large sums of cash, many other types of property can be stolen, and all constitute the crime of theft. Several local Pennsylvania theft cases illustrate the wide array of property that can be stolen.

In Norristown, a former police officer was charged with theft after breaking into his old squad car to steal an M-16 and ammunition for two handguns. The officer was attempting to use the items to commit suicide, but luckily he was able to locate a church priest before he harmed himself or anyone else. The prosecutor still chose to charge the officer with theft.

In Kingwood, a joint investigation between several law enforcement agencies led to the recovery of a stolen camper. The Dominion Post reports that the camper had been stolen from a yard.

These cases illustrate the complex nature of property that can constitute “something of value,” and therefore lead to criminal charges for theft.

West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been charged with a criminal theft offense, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Experienced Pennsylvania theft defense attorney Michael J. Skinner will ensure that your constitutional rights are protected throughout the criminal process. Contact the Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 today to schedule your free consultation.

Article Author

Michael J. Skinner, the founder of Skinner Law Firm LLC, is a former prosecutor with the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.

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