In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, there are several different theft offenses:
- Theft by Unlawful Taking – 18 Pa.C.S.A. §3921
- Theft by Deception – 18 Pa.C.S.A. §3922
- Theft by Extortion – 18 Pa.C.S.A. §3923
- Theft of Lost Property – 18 Pa.C.S.A. §3924
- Receiving Stolen Property – 18 Pa.C.S.A. §3925
- Theft of Services – 18 Pa.C.S.A. §3926
- Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition of Funds Received – 18 Pa.C.S.A. §3927
- Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle – 18 Pa.C.S.A. §3928
- Retail Theft – 18 Pa.C.S.A. §3929
As a general rule, an individual is guilty of theft if he unlawfully takes, or exercises unlawful control over, the property of another with the intent to permanently deprive. Although personal and tangible property are the object of the most commonly known theft offenses; the theft of personal, professional and public utility services are also covered by Title 18, Chapter 39.
Theft offenses can be graded anywhere from Summary offenses to Felonies of the Second Degree. Accordingly, the maximum penalties can range from a monetary fine of $300 to ten (10) years of incarceration. The grading is dependant upon what type of theft is involved, the amount or value of the object of the theft, and/or the number of prior offenses.Defenses
When faced with a Theft charge, there are several affirmative defenses that a skilled and experienced attorney may utilize to aggressively defend against such serious allegations. For example, the following defenses may be available: duress; ignorance or mistake; justification; consent; de minimus infraction; guilty but mentally ill; insanity; or entrapment. These defenses may or may not be available; however, if they are not asserted properly or in a timely manner, then they may be forfeited by the accused. As such, it is imperative to secure competent, knowledgeable, and experienced counsel as soon as possible in order to preserve your rights and interests.