Misdemeanor Vs. Felony Theft in Pennsylvania

The state of Pennsylvania classifies theft crimes based on whether or not the property is are tangible or not. The terms more often used are movable or immovable property. Movable property offenses would involve theft of movable property with the intent to deprive the owner of the property. Examples of this would be items from a store, so shoplifting is considered a movable property offense. Immovable property, on the other hand, is unlawfully transferring or exercising control over another person's immovable property or interest in property. An example of this type of property would be an interest in real estate. The charges that can follow these offenses depend on the value of the property.

Misdemeanor Theft: There are three degrees of misdemeanor theft in Pennsylvania, including:

  • First Degree Misdemeanor Theft: involves property valued at more than $200 but less than $2,000. Punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Second Degree Misdemeanor Theft: involves property valued between $50 and $200. Punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Third Degree Misdemeanor Theft: involves property valued less than $50 and is punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.

Felony Theft: In order for a theft crime to be charged as a felony in Pennsylvania, the property involved must be more than $2,000. There are three degrees of felony theft and they all hold the potential of different penalties. The key determinant between misdemeanor and felony theft is the value of the property. If it is under $2,000 it will most likely be a misdemeanor offense, if above $2,000 it will be charged as a felony. There are also other factors that could make the offense a felony such as if the property was a firearm. Contact me, Curtis E. Barnes, Attorney at Law, if you have any questions about theft offenses or need representation in a criminal case.

Categories: Theft
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