When property goes missing, many individuals are quick point the finger and blame others for their loss. Although sometimes others are responsible for missing property, other times allegations are falsely made or falsely levied against an individual. Yet, when accusations are made, a Pennsylvania resident can wind up facing criminal charges for stealing. In order to avoid the harsh penalties that can accompany a conviction, defendants need to know the law, understand it and comprehend how to utilize it to their advantage as, regardless of the circumstances, criminal defense options may be available to them.
Generally speaking, theft occurs when an individual, in an unlawful manner, either takes or exerts control over another person's property. In order for prosecutors to obtain a conviction for this offense, though, they must prove that the property was taken with the intent to deprive the owner of his or her rights to the property. Theft can also occur when an individual uses deception to deprive another of property. This can happen when an individual makes false statements to another individual that causes him or her to relinquish rights to his or her property.
The crime of theft is prosecuted based on its severity, which can be defined by the underlying facts. For example, a theft that involves property of significant value will be charged more severely than one involving an item of nominal value. Therefore, those who are convicted of more serious felony counts wind up facing penalties such as lengthy incarceration, hefty fines and serious damage to their reputations.
Yet, by looking at the law accused individuals can find criminal defense options. For example, it may be that property was taken, but not with the requisite intent to deprive the owner of its use. Alternatively, a misunderstanding may occur that leads a property owner to believe that his or her property was taken by the accused, when in fact it wasn't. Then, there are the cases where the property was subject to theft, but not by the individual who has been criminally charged.
Regardless of the defense tactic taken, defendants may find that they benefit from the assistance of a competent defense attorney. This will help ensure their legal rights and options are protected and best served.