Montgomery County Grand Theft Lawyer
If you have been arrested and accused of grand theft in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, it is essential that you seek the help of a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer immediately. Being charged with grand theft can have serious consequences on your life, including a potential prison sentence, fines, and a lasting criminal record.
At Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C., our grand theft lawyers have decades of experience representing clients accused of grand theft and other serious criminal offenses in Pennsylvania. We understand the seriousness of the charges you are facing and will work to protect your rights and seek a reduction of charges, or even an outright dismissal whenever possible. This comprehensive guide will help you understand the complexities of grand theft charges, their potential impact, and why hiring a grand theft lawyer in Montgomery County is crucial to protecting your rights and achieving the best possible outcome for your case.
Understanding Grand Theft Charges and Their Severity
Grand theft, or felony theft, is a serious criminal charge in Pennsylvania. It involves the unlawful taking of another person’s property without their consent and with the intent to deprive them of it permanently. There are several degrees of grand theft charges, depending on the value of the stolen property and the specific circumstances of the crime.
Theft by Unlawful Taking or Disposition
This charge occurs when an individual takes, transfers, disposes of, or exercises control over movable property without the owner’s consent. It can also involve the unlawful transfer or exercise of control over immovable property, such as real estate, with the intent to benefit oneself or another person not entitled to the property.
Theft by Deception
Theft by deception involves obtaining or withholding property through deception, such as false pretenses, trickery, or fraudulent representation. This can include acts like using counterfeit money, falsifying documents, or misrepresenting facts to obtain property from another person.
Theft by Extortion
This charge occurs when an individual obtains or withholds the property by threatening the victim with harm or engaging in conduct constituting a crime. Examples include demanding payment to avoid physical injury, property damage, or exposing a secret that could harm the victim’s reputation.
Sentencing Guidelines for Grand Theft in Pennsylvania
The sentencing for a grand theft conviction depends on several factors, including the value of the stolen property, the defendant’s criminal history, and any aggravating or mitigating circumstances.
First-Degree Felony Theft
The most severe grand theft charge, first-degree felony theft involves stolen property valued at $500,000 or more. It can also include crimes involving firearms, especially if the accused person is dealing, manufacturing, or exporting firearms. This charge can result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years and fines of up to $25,000.
Second-Degree Felony Theft
Second-degree felony theft involves stolen property valued between $100,000 and $499,999. Other factors that can lead to this charge include whether there was looting or a firearm involved in the incident. A conviction can lead to a prison sentence of up to 10 years and fines of up to $25,000.
Third-Degree Felony Theft
For stolen property valued between $2,000 and $99,999, a third-degree felony theft charge applies. If the theft was of a motor vehicle or the accused was found to be reselling stolen items, it is a third-degree felony as well. A conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to 7 years and fines of up to $15,000.
The Long-Lasting Effects of a Grand Theft Conviction
A conviction for grand theft in Montgomery County can have severe consequences, impacting your personal and professional life for years to come. Depending on the severity of the offense, grand theft can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, both of which can have various impacts, including:
- Criminal record: A grand theft conviction will result in a permanent criminal record, making it difficult to find employment, housing, get student loans, or even obtain certain professional licenses.
- Incarceration and fines: Depending on the severity of the charge and the circumstances of the case, a grand theft conviction may lead to a prison sentence, probation, and substantial fines.
- Loss of rights: In some cases, a felony conviction can result in the loss of certain rights, such as the right to vote, possess a firearm, or hold public office.
Avoiding a conviction is your best option if you are facing grand theft charges. A skilled grand theft lawyer can help you understand your rights and explore the best options for your case.
The Vital Role of a Legal Advocate
When facing grand theft charges, it is crucial to have a trustworthy criminal defense lawyer on your side. Without a legal advocate on your side, you may be left to face the charges alone, leaving you vulnerable. Your Montgomery County grand theft lawyer can help you navigate the intricacies of the criminal justice system by:
Evaluating the Evidence and Building a Strong Defense
A criminal defense lawyer will thoroughly review the evidence against you, identify any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and develop a robust defense strategy tailored to your unique circumstances.
Negotiating With Prosecutors
A skilled grand theft lawyer can negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf to secure a favorable plea agreement, potentially resulting in reduced charges, lesser penalties, or even a dismissal of the case.
Representing You in Court
If your case goes to trial, your grand theft lawyer will vigorously defend your rights in court, challenging the prosecution’s evidence, cross-examining witnesses, and presenting a compelling case for your innocence.
Giving Personalized Attention to Your Case
Taking your chances with a public defender or representing yourself is rarely a wise decision. A criminal defense lawyer will provide personalized attention to your case, giving you the best chance of achieving a favorable outcome.
Strategies Your Grand Theft Lawyer May Employ
Developing a strong strategy to defend against criminal charges is one of the primary tasks of any criminal defense lawyer. Depending on the facts of the case, your Montgomery County grand theft lawyer may employ any of the following strategies:
Lack of Intent
A key element of grand theft is the intent to permanently deprive the owner of their property. If your lawyer can demonstrate that you lacked the required intent, it may lead to the dismissal or reduction of charges.
Ownership or Right to Possession
If you can establish that you had a good faith belief that you owned or had a right to possess the property in question, it may serve as a defense against grand theft charges.
Your grand theft lawyer may argue that the prosecution has insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the alleged theft. This can include challenging the credibility of witnesses, the reliability of evidence, or the legality of the investigation.
Duress or Necessity
In some cases, your grand theft attorney may be able to argue that you committed the theft under duress (coerced by threats of harm) or out of necessity (to avoid immediate danger). While these defenses are not commonly used, they may be applicable in specific circumstances.
If law enforcement officers induced you to commit a theft you would not have otherwise committed, your grand theft attorney may argue entrapment as a defense. This can be a difficult defense to prove, but it may be successful if there is evidence of improper conduct by law enforcement.
The defense lawyer may negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution to reduce the charges and penalties associated with the case. This can benefit the defendant as it can result in reduced jail time, a lesser charge, or even a dismissal of the case.
Establishing an Alibi
This strategy involves arguing that the defendant was not present at the time and place of the alleged crime due to an alibi. This strategy requires the defense to present evidence and witnesses to support the defendant’s claim that they were elsewhere during the incident.
Another common defense is to argue that the defendant could not have had criminal intent due to mental illness. This strategy requires the defense to prove that the defendant was not mentally responsible for their actions at the time of the crime.
Protect Your Rights by Contacting a Montgomery County Grand Theft Lawyer Today
No matter the circumstances, being charged with grand theft can be intimidating and overwhelming. It is important to understand your rights and secure the help of a reliable criminal defense lawyer to protect your future.
At Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C., we are committed to providing our clients with the best possible legal representation. Our talented lgrand theft attorneys will provide personalized attention to your case, working tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome. If you have been charged with grand theft in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, contact us at (215) 822-7575 or fill out our contact form today to learn more about how we can help.