THEFT BY UNLAWFUL TAKING CHARGES IN PA
Theft by Unlawful Taking or Disposition is found under Section 3921 of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code. A person commits a theft if he or she unlawfully takes or exercises unlawful control over movable property, with the intent of depriving the owner of that property. Put simply - theft by unlawful taking means taking or stealing something that you know doesn't belong to you.
HOW SERIOUS IS MY THEFT BY UNLAWFUL TAKING CHARGE?
The grading of theft charges is found under Section 3903. The seriousness of your charges is based upon the value or type of items taken, or the circumstances by which the items were taken, as follows:
- 1st-Degree Felony: Punishable by up to 20 years in prison if the person steals a firearm and is in the business of buying/selling stolen firearms, or the amount of theft is more than $500,000.
- 2nd-Degree Felony: Punishable by up to 10 years in prison when someone:
- Steals a firearm; or
- Steals property valued at over $100,000 but less than $500,000; or
- Commits a theft during a natural disaster; or
- Steals anhydrous ammonia.
- 3rd-Degree Felony: Punishable by up to 7 years in prison when the amount of the theft is over $2,000, if the person steals a car or other vehicle, or the person is in the business of buying/selling stolen goods.
- 1st-Degree Misdemeanor: If the amount of the theft is more than $200, but less than $2,000.
- 2nd-Degree Misdemeanor: If the amount of the theft was more than $50 but less than $200.
- 3rd Degree Misdemeanor: If the amount of the theft is less than $50.
WHY AM I BEING CHARGED WITH THEFT?
If you are alleged to have stolen property from another person, you will find yourself charged with Theft by Unlawful Taking. Since most theft cases involve a wide variety of criminal activity, a person charged with theft can also be charged with companion offenses, such as Receiving Stolen Property, Burglary, Forgery, and Theft by Deception.
EVIDENCE IN THEFT BY UNLAWFUL TAKING CASES
There are many different types of evidence that the prosecution can offer against you in a Theft by Unlawful Taking prosecution, which can include:
- DNA and Fingerprint evidence
- Eyewitness testimony
- Pawn shop transaction records
- Confessions and statements you made to others
- Receipts and appraisal records to prove value of items
- Recovering stolen items from you, your home or vehicle
- Your own statements and admissions to committing the offense.
DEFENDING YOUR THEFT CASE
Never assume you are guilty of Theft by Unlawful Taking simply because you are found in possession of items belonging to another person. The Commonwealth is required to prove that you intentionally stole the items. Other possible defenses to your theft charges include: misidentification, lack of knowledge about the items being stolen, lack of DNA/fingerprint evidence, and that the owner granted you permission to have the item.
HOW THE ZUCKERMAN LAW FIRM CAN HELP
An experienced criminal defense attorney can maximize your chances of getting the best possible resolution. If the case against you is solid, it may be possible to resolve your case without jail time, probation or a criminal record. One potential way to resolve your case is by way of a Rule 586 Settlement.
If you are charged with theft, call the Zuckerman Law Firm today at 412-447-5580 for a free consultation.