If you take something from a person you expect a charged of theft by unlawful taking. Here’s what that involves and how it differs from other forms of theft. 

Under Pennsylvanian law, you will be charged with theft by unlawful taking if you stole an item from someone with the express intention of depriving them of that item and benefitting yourself.  There are two types of categories of theft by unlawful taking. Moveable property and Immoveable property.

When you think of moveable property, you can expect things like guns, cell phones, computers, cars, and money.

When you think of Immovable property would be like land or even a home. This classification is much less common than moveable property.

§ 3921. Theft by unlawful taking or disposition.

(a) Movable property.–A person is guilty of theft if he unlawfully takes, or exercises unlawful control over, movable property of another with intent to deprive him thereof.

(b) Immovable property.–A person is guilty of theft if he unlawfully transfers, or exercises unlawful control over, immovable property of another or any interest therein with intent to benefit himself or another not entitled thereto.

Theft by unlawful taking is a person to person crime, not a person to institution fine. This is how it differs from retail theft. If you take Johnnys cellphone and keep it, or even try to sell it, you are committing theft by unlawful taking

The Penalties for theft by unlawful taking

The penalty for this type of conviction depends on the value of the items in question. Less serious crimes are generally classified as misdemeanors while the more serious will be felonies. Penalties could also be based off of your past criminal record. In Pennsylvania to get a prior record score, the prosecutor will look at your past criminal history. Similar convictions (retail theft, theft by deception, theft by extortion, theft by receiving stolen property) will land you with steeper penalties and higher fines.

Each case is different, but in general terms, they operate on a sliding scale for first term convictions: 

  • Below $50: a third-degree misdemeanor with one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.
  • $50 to $200: second-degree misdemeanor with two years in prison and fines as high as $5,000. 
  • $200 to $2,000: First-degree misdemeanor which could see a sentence up to five years and a fine as high as $10,000.

Anything beyond $2,000 will be considered a felony. The penalties here are that much higher. You could face up to seven years behind bars and a maximum fine of $15,000. A felony will also look much worse on your criminal record. 

Why you need the best representation to fight this charge

The consequences of theft by unlawful taking charge can go much further than just jail terms and fines. As a result of this conviction, one would expect for it to be there on your criminal record for anyone to search at a future date. It might make it more difficult to secure credit or housing. Employers would see it if they run a background check. The stain will be there forever and hold you back for the rest of your life.

The stakes, therefore, are extremely high. If you are charged, you should consult an attorney as soon as possible. This will give you someone dedicated to your own interests. He or she will be with you to fight any case every step of the way. If possible, they will get the case dismissed. If not, they will fight to reduce any sentence as much as possible. 

This will be an important moment in the rest of your life. Make sure you don’t face it alone.  

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David Wenger III, Attorney at law

 

 

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