Accused of a property crime or stealing? Contact our Scranton, Pa. criminal defense law firm.
Have you been charged with stealing someone else’s property in Pennsylvania? Theft crimes can have serious consequences if you are found guilty and convicted of robbery, burglary or theft in Scranton or another community in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
At Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano, we understand the seriousness of such crimes. That’s because we have worked with many people facing these charges and why we’re eager to work with you. We believe everyone deserves exceptional legal advice – and we want to help.
Our law firm includes some of the most experienced criminal defense attorneys in Pennsylvania. Along with a former, two-term District Attorney, our firm includes the former Chief Public Defender, former Assistant City Solicitor for the City of Scranton, and former Assistant Public Defender for Lackawanna County. There’s no substitute for courtroom experience. There’s no substitute for success.
What is the difference between robbery, burglary, and theft?
These three types of theft crimes might seem similar. But in the eyes of the law in Pennsylvania, these three criminal charges have very distinct differences. The state defines these three crimes as follows:
Robbery – This form of theft involves taking something from someone with force. The law classifies robbery as a violent crime, even if the person who was robbed was not harmed. A threat of violence during the theft elevates the crime to robbery.
In Pennsylvania the elements of the crime of robbery are:
- Inflicts serious bodily injury upon another;
- Threatens another or intentionally puts the individual in fear of immediate serious bodily injury;
- Commits or threatens to commit a first or second-degree felony
- Physically takes or removes property from another by force;
- Takes or removes the money of a financial institution without permission by making a demand of an employee orally or in writing with the intent to deprive the financial institution of its money
Burglary – A person does not have to steal something to be charged with burglary. Simply entering someone else’s property unlawfully with the intent to steal something would be enough for someone to be charged with burglary. This charge also applies to unlawfully entering someone else’s property and actually stealing something.
Under Pennsylvania law, burglary is committed when the individual “enters a building or occupied structure, or separately secured or occupied portion thereof, that is adapted for overnight accommodations in which at the time of the offense:
- Any person is present and the person commits, attempts or threatens to commit a bodily injury crime therein;
- Any person is present;
- No person is present
Theft – Also sometimes referred to as larceny, theft involves taking property without the consent of the owner. The value of the stolen items determines whether theft is classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. A felony charge may be filed if the stolen item was worth more than $2,000.
Under the Pennsylvania code, the elements of theft are:
- “To withhold property of another permanently or for so extended a period as to appropriate a major portion of its economic value, or with intent to restore only upon payment of reward or other compensation; or
- to dispose of the property so as to make it unlikely that the owner will recover it.”
What is the penalty for robbery in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania generally classifies robbery as a third-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 7 years in prison. If someone is harmed during a robbery, the charge is considered a second-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. If the injuries inflicted by the defendant are serious and result in severe bodily harm, this particular robbery charge is classified as a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. If someone is killed during the robbery, law enforcement may file second-degree murder charges.
What is the penalty for a burglary conviction?
Pennsylvania often classifies burglary as a first-degree felony, a crime that carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years. However, sometimes law enforcement officials classify burglary as a second-degree felony, especially if there was no one in the structure when the burglary entered the building. The penalty for a second-degree felony is up to 10 years in prison in Pennsylvania.
What is the penalty for being convicted of theft crimes in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania has several different theft charges based primarily on the value of the stolen items. The penalties include:
- Misdemeanor in the Third Degree Theft – Stolen property worth less than $50. Penalty – up to 1 year in prison and up to $2,500 fine.
- Misdemeanor in the Second Degree Theft – Stolen property valued between $50 and $200. Penalty – up to 2 years in prison and up to $5,000 fine.
- Misdemeanor in the First Degree Theft – Stolen property worth $200 to $2,000. Penalty – up to 5 years in prison and up to $10,000 fine.
- Felony in the Third Degree Theft – Stolen property worth more than $2,000 or if the property stolen is a car, truck, motorcycle, boat or another type of vehicle. Penalty – up 7 years in prison and up to $15,000 fine.
- Felony in the Second Degree Theft – The penalty for a felony of the second-degree conviction in Pennsylvania is up to 10 years in prison and up to $25,000 fine. This charge includes the following stolen items or circumstances:
- Stolen firearm
- Receiving stolen firearms
- Theft committed during a natural disaster
- Stolen item contains anhydrous ammonia, a material used to make many illegal drugs, including methamphetamine
- Felony in the First Degree Theft – Stolen property is a firearm and the person receiving the stolen firearm buys and sells stolen guns. Penalty – up to 20 years and prison and up to $25,000 fine.
“Why should I hire Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano to represent me?”
Subtle distinctions exist between crimes classified as theft, robbery or burglary. But the penalties for one crime versus another can sometimes be dramatically different. We protect clients against overzealous prosecutors who file the wrong charges or build cases based on procedural mistakes and flawed evidence. We have years of experience investigating all types of serious criminal cases. We know what evidence to look for and what questions to ask when trying to build the strongest case. Depending on the circumstances of your case, we might even be able to get your charges downgraded, dismissed or negotiate a favorable plea deal on your behalf.
We also cannot stress enough the importance of contacting our law firm as soon as possible. We want to work with you and give your case the attention it rightfully deserves. Contact us right now for a free case evaluation: (570) 348-0776.