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Property and Theft Offenses

Property crimes refer to a broad range of offenses that involve the wrongful loss or destruction of property, or the illegal use or invasion of property. Theft involves unlawfully depriving a person of property, by taking it without permission or by deception.

Penalties for property and theft offenses often depend on the value of the property allegedly destroyed or stolen, and sometimes on circumstances that might exist during the alleged theft or property crime. In some cases, they can add up to decades of jail time. Additionally, a theft or property crime on your record could tell future employers and others you are a dishonest person. These charges may be based on faulty or weak evidence, or simple misunderstandings.

Philadelphia Theft Defense Lawyer

If you face property crime or theft charges, an aggressive defense can make the difference between liberty and imprisonment. You can hire an experienced theft lawyer in Philadelphia to fight for your rights. Our criminal defense attorneys at Alva & Shuttleworth, LLC can represent you. We will challenge evidence and call into question anything that shows the reasonable doubt in your case. Call us today at (215) 665-1695 to set up a consultation.

We represent those charged with theft and property offenses throughout the Philly area, including in Bucks County, Chester County, Montgomery County, and Delaware County. We can represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.


Pennsylvania Property and Theft Offense Information Center


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Theft Offenses in Pennsylvania

Theft charges involves unlawfully depriving a person of their property. This can include if the intent was to keep it permanent, to sell it, to keep it long enough to take some portion of the property’s economic value, or to hold it so that the accused can get some kind of reward.

Different charges for theft in Pennsylvania include the common definition of stealing, of unlawfully permanently depriving a person of their property or the value of their property without consent. They also include:

Theft by Deception (18 Penn. Cons. Stat. § 3922):

Theft by deception means the accused intentionally created a false impression or intentionally failed to correct a false impression pertaining to the law on some matter, his or her intention, or anything else having to do with the victim’s state of mind during a transaction.

Theft by deception accusations can occur after a commercial transaction where the supposed victim did not get what he or she wanted, and may accuse a person of swindling him or her.

Theft of Services (18 Penn. Cons. Stat. § 3926):

Theft of services involves a customer who intentionally procures services from a business and then does not pay for them. It can also involve a person who works for a business who gives away services by his or her employer for free to friends or family.

Receiving Stolen Property (18 Penn. Cons. Stat. § 3925):

Receiving stolen property means that the accused intentionally accepted, sold and/or otherwise disposed of property he or she knew was stolen or believed was stolen.

Receiving stolen property charges can arise out of fencing rings, in which the accused allegedly has a business of buying and selling stolen goods. Pawn shop owners may face these charges.

Retail Theft / Shoplifting (18 Penn. Cons. Stat. § 3929):

Shoplifting involves the common taking of goods without paying for them. It can also mean using the goods if the intent was to not pay for them, like if the accused purchases clothes from a store with the intent of wearing them and then returning them.

Staff at a retailer can also face charges of shoplifting or retail theft if they are accused of under-ringing for goods or otherwise charging less than the price of the goods

Unauthorized Use of Motor Vehicle (18 Penn. Cons. Stat. § 3929):

Unauthorized use of a motor vehicle involves taking a vehicle for use without consent of the owner, often called “joyriding.”

Any theft involving property worth more than $2,000, or involving a firearm, is a felony. Receiving stolen property charges can even be a first degree felony if prosecutors can prove the accused was in the business of selling stolen goods.

Many other theft charges are misdemeanors or summary offenses. However, any theft charge on your record will give the impression that you are a person who cannot be trusted, and you may have a hard time finding a job that involves being around valuables or money.

Don’t take theft charges lightly. Hire the Philadelphia defense lawyers at Alva & Shuttleworth, LLC to help you fight the charges.


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Pennsylvania Property Crime Charges

Burglary (18 Penn. Cons. Stat. § 3502):

If the accused is charged with burglary, he or she is accused of entering a building, including a home, with the intent of committing a crime. Most people think of burglary as breaking and entering to steal, but the charge is actually much broader.

Burglary is a first degree felony if the building is intended for people to live or stay overnight. If it is not, burglary is a second degree felony.

Criminal Trespass (18 Penn. Cons. Stat. § 3502):

Criminal trespass charges mean the defendant is accused of breaking into a building he or she has no right to be in, or entering a building secretly or using deceit.

Breaking into a building is a second degree felony, and using deceit is a third degree felony.

Arson (18 Penn. Cons. Stat. § 3301):

Arson involves a broad range of offenses involving fire, burning and explosions, either on the accused’s property or another’s property. People facing arson charges may be accused of burning down their own building and trying to collect insurance money.

If accused of intentionally starting a fire in which another person, including a firefighter, was intentionally or recklessly placed in danger, or if the building burned down was someone else’s home or other occupied structure, then the charges are a first degree felony.

Criminal Mischief / Vandalism (18 Penn. Cons. Stat. § 3304):

Criminal mischief means intentionally destroying or damaging the property of another or public property. This can be by graffiti or any other form of defacement or destruction.

Criminal mischief can be a third degree felony if the value of the damage was more than $5,000, or if the allegation involves a serious disruption of public communications or utilities. Otherwise, it is a misdemeanor or summary offense.


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Alva & Shuttleworth, LLC | Philadelphia Property Crime Attorney

If you are facing charges for property or theft crimes, you want experienced criminal defense counsel on your side. A Philadelphia property crime defense lawyer can fight for your rights. We will call the prosecutor’s evidence into question to show reasonable doubt and get your charges reduced or dismissed. Call us today at (215) 665-1695 to set up a consultation if you are accused of a property or theft crime anywhere in the Philadelphia area, including in Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, and Delaware Counties.

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