Theft Lawyer Pittsburgh | SMT Legal

Pittsburgh Theft Lawyer

If you have been accused of theft or were arrested on theft charges – whether it was shoplifting, passing bad checks, forgery, carjacking, burglary or receiving stolen property – you face tough penalties if convicted in Pennsylvania.

Theft is usually a regrettable mistake that someone makes on impulse or out of need or even out of compulsion. It is also common for misunderstandings to occur and innocent people to be accused.

Even so, prosecutors in Pennsylvania are not sympathetic – it is their job to get a conviction. Stealing less than $50 is a third-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine, not to mention a criminal record. The higher the value of the stolen item, the harsher the punishment will be.

Being charged with theft is a stressful situation, that can make a person and their families feel hopeless and powerless for the future.

This is your life. You have rights.

Theft crime charges do not mean that you are guilty – until you are actually convicted you have the right to fight back and defend your liberties.

Pittsburgh Criminal Attorney Christopher P. Thomas can help you get started by answering your questions and providing a FREE LEGAL CONSULTATION.

Pittsburgh Attorney Thomas has over a decade of experience in successfully fighting for people who have been accused of theft crimes. He will listen to your story and offer options for you to make the best decision about how to fight back against the theft charges.

Pittsburgh Theft Lawyer

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    Types Of Theft Charges In Pennsylvania

    A theft occurs when someone illegally takes an item that does not belong to them, keeps something for themself that was misplaced by the real owner, or keeps the property of another that was delivered by mistake.

    Theft can also occur when you rent goods without returning them or you destroy the rented property or goods.

    Using services without paying for them is also considered theft.

    At SMT Legal, we aggressively defend people who have been charged with any of the following theft-related crimes:

    • Retail Theft / Shoplifting: Taking an item from a commercial retailer without paying for it or a store clerk under-charging for the price of goods can constitute retail theft.
    • Movable Theft: Illegally taking moveable property such as jewelry or electronics or exercising control over it in an attempt to take it from the owner.
    • Immovable Theft: Illegally transferring or exercising control over property, such as a house or land, with the intent to benefit yourself or another party.
    • Theft by Deception: Intentionally creating a false impression, failing to correct a false impression or withholding information in order to obtain or keep someone else’s property. This could mean lying about law, the value of an item or an intention.
    • Theft of Services: Unlawfully using services without paying for them.
    • Passing Bad Checks: Issuing bad checks intentionally is punishable by law.
    • Forgery: Intentionally stealing money or gaining financially by forging a signature or printing false documents.
    • Receiving Stolen Property: Intentionally accepting, retaining, selling, transferring or disposing of known stolen property. Selling stolen property is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
    • Burglary: Entering a building with the intent to commit a crime. You could be charged with burglary if you intend to steal something or intend to commit any kind of crime, even if you don’t end up stealing anything and don’t commit any crime. Burglary is a felony.
    • Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle: “Joyriding” without consent of the owner. Theft of a motor vehicle is a felony.
    • Robbery: If a person harms or threatens to harm someone in the course of illegally taking their property, they could be charged with robbery, which is a felony.
    Punishments For A Theft Conviction In Pennsylvania

    Depending on the value of the stolen item, theft could either be a felony or a misdemeanor on your criminal record. If you are charged with stealing a gun or weapon, convicted of theft during a natural disaster (earthquake, flood, etc.) or committed another crime while committing theft, you will face additional penalties.


    According to the Pennsylvania Criminal Code 3903 the following grading for theft crimes and the penalties upon a conviction are listed below.

    When the amount of the item stolen is:

    • Less than $50: a third degree misdemeanor, up to one year in prison and a $2,000 fine;
    • $50-$200: a second degree misdemeanor, up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine;
    • $200-$2,000: a first degree misdemeanor, up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine;
    • Over $2,000: a third degree felony, up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

    If the item stolen is a motor vehicle or a gun, it is considered a third degree felony. If this is your third offense you face a third degree felony.


    Shoplifting, which is considered “retail theft”, has different penalties than being charged with “theft” in Pennsylvania. Penalties for shoplifting fall under the following grading:

    When the amount of the item stolen is:

    • Less than $150 AND it is a first offense: A summary offense, a $300 fine and up to 90 days in jail;
    • Over $150 OR a second offense under $150: a first degree misdemeanor, up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine;
    • Over $2,000: a third degree felony, up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

    Fight For Your Freedom


    When your future and your freedom are on the line, you need an excellent attorney to aggressively defend your rights.

    Our experienced Pittsburgh Crime Attorneys will thoroughly investigate your case, gather all evidence and closely examine all police reports, witness testimony, video footage and recordings of your arrest.

    We work to significantly increase your chances of having your charges reduced or withdrawn by building a strong defense strategy. We will make sure we get answers to all questions to aid in proving your innocence as well as search for any holes in the prosecution’s case.

    If the police did not follow proper procedures during your arrest, all evidence could be thrown out and your entire case could be dismissed.

    great attorney not only understands the court system but also has compassion for the clients’ situation. That compassion has the capacity to carry over when it is time for hearings and sentencing, negotiating with prosecutors, and arguing your case before a judge.

    Pittsburgh Criminal Attorney Christopher Thomas is a skilled and compassionate attorney who will fight for your liberties.

    Contact him today for a FREE CONSULTATION.

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