Philadelphia Theft Lawyer
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Pennsylvania law provides harsh punishments for people convicted of theft. Depending on the value and nature of the property, you could face either misdemeanor or felony charges. In either case, a conviction for theft will be visible on your criminal record, which can affect your ability to find a job, enroll in university, or obtain certain professional licenses. A felony conviction will have more serious consequences, such as canceling your second amendment right to own a firearm.
Owing to the severe consequences of a theft conviction, you should vigorously fight such charges. You have the right to remain silent at every stage of the criminal justice process, including during your arrest, detention, questioning, and court appearances. You should exercise this right, and hire a skilled attorney to speak on your behalf. A good lawyer by your side will ensure that your rights are respected and maximize your chances of obtaining a positive case outcome.
What Kinds of Theft Cases Does Fienman Defense Handle?
Depending on the circumstances of your case, a prosecutor may charge you with a variety of different theft offenses. At Fienman Defense, we can help you fight the following types of theft charges:
- Theft — When you take someone else’s moveable property, you will face either misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the value of the property. A prosecutor may bring felony charges against you if the value of the property is greater than $2,000 or if it’s a firearm.
- Retail theft — This offense is different than ordinary theft because it involves taking merchandise from a business without paying its full retail value. When the value of the merchandise is less than $150, retail theft is considered a summary theft. When the merchandise is worth more than $150 or it’s your second offense, retail theft becomes a misdemeanor. For a third offense or when the merchandise is worth more than $2,000, retail theft becomes a felony.
- Theft by deception — When you make misrepresentations about a transaction or withhold information that would affect another person’s judgment about the transaction, you could face charges for theft by deception. When the value of the property being transacted is greater than $2,000, theft by deception becomes a felony.
- Bad checks — You could face this charge if there’s evidence that you wrote a bad check, or used a check that you know will not be honored by the bank issuing it. For your third offense within a five-year window, or when you issue a bad check for an amount greater than $75,000, you will face felony charges.
- Forgery — This offense involves intentionally trying to defraud or injure someone by faking documents such as trademarks, signatures, credit cards, badges, tokens, money, or checks. Forgery is a felony if it involves a document issued by the government or a legal document such as a deed or a will.
- Receiving stolen property — If you take possession of property that you know or should have known was stolen, you can be charged with receiving stolen property. When the stolen property is valued at more than $2,000, the offense is a felony.
How Can Fienman Defense Help?
By hiring an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense attorney, you will give yourself the best chances of obtaining an acceptable resolution of your case. Your lawyer will review all of the prosecution’s evidence and then ask you for your side of the story. Your lawyer may also do some investigative work or perform discovery to get more evidence to build your case. Depending on what evidence is available, your attorney might use any of the following defense strategies:
- Suppressing the prosecution’s evidence — When the authorities obtain evidence through unlawful means, such as searching your home for stolen merchandise without a warrant, your consent, or emergency circumstances justifying their entry, that evidence cannot be used against you at trial. When the bulk of the prosecutor’s case is based on this illegally obtained evidence, your lawyer may request the court to dismiss the charges.
- Challenging the prosecutor’s witnesses — If the prosecution has witnesses testify against you, your lawyer can lessen their impact on the case outcome by showing that their recollections are unreliable or that they have a reputation for being untrustworthy.
- Demonstrating reasonable doubt — The prosecutor must prove every element of the case beyond a reasonable doubt, including your criminal intent. By showing that you plausibly acted without criminal intent, your lawyer may be able to obtain a verdict of not guilty.
- Negotiating a plea agreement — When all the available evidence points to your guilt, and no other defense strategy is available, your lawyer can make a deal with the prosecutor. If you agree to waive your right to trial and plead guilty, you may receive a conviction for a lesser charge. For example, if you’re charged with felony theft, you may get away with a misdemeanor conviction.
- Advocating for a lenient sentence — If you’re found guilty at trial, you will receive your sentence during a separate court hearing. During this hearing, your lawyer can give the judge reasons why you should receive a lighter sentence. If it’s your first offense, if you’re productive member of society, or if you’re active in your community, you may receive a lenient sentence.
At Fienman Defense, we have a proven track record of getting our clients good case results through aggressive advocacy. Whether you’ve been charged with a summary offense for retail theft, or a felony for receiving stolen property, we can help. If you’re facing any kind of theft charge, call us today at for a free and confidential consultation of your case.
Questions? Contact a Philadelphia Theft Lawyer Today.
If at all possible, Fienman Defense will try to get the charges against you dismissed. Based on the evidence and the constraints of mandatory sentencing, we will work hard to get your penalties lowered. And if your case goes to court, Fienman Defense will fight to win an acquittal.