Theft by Unlawful Taking or Disposition

Pittsburgh Theft Defense Attorney

In Pennsylvania, theft by unlawful taking or disposition is the “standard” and popular conception of a theft offense.  For example, if a person steals money from someone’s pocket, that would qualify as theft by unlawful taking or disposition.

Theft can be quite surprising to those who have been charged with the offense, however, as some aspects of the charge may not seem as intuitive.  Control may constitute theft, even without an actual physical taking.  If, for example, a person uses another’s laptop for days at a time without permission to do so, that might qualify as theft by unlawful taking or disposition.

If you’ve been charged with theft by unlawful taking or disposition, McKinney Law can help you put forth a solid defense.  We have extensive experience handling criminal litigation surrounding theft offenses, including the “standard” form.  Contact a Pittsburgh theft defense attorney today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

Basics of a Theft By Unlawful Taking or Disposition Offense

According to Section 3921 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, theft by unlawful taking or disposition is segmented into subcategories -- movable theft and immovable theft, each involving a different type of property.

  • Movable property is property that is not tied to the land itself. For example, a television or even loose furniture (i.e., a coffee table) would be considered movable property.
  • Immovable property is property that is directly linked to the location. Buildings, structures and the land itself are immovable property.

A person will be found guilty of theft if he:

  1. Unlawfully takes or exercises unlawful control over movable property of another with intent to deprive him thereof, or
  2. Unlawfully transfers or exercises unlawful control over immovable property of another or any interest therein with intent to benefit himself or another not entitled thereto.

For example, you can be held liable for theft by unlawful taking or disposition if you -- without authorization -- transfer a deed for land over to a stranger in exchange for monetary compensation.

Penalties Variable Based on Nature and Amount of Stolen Goods

In Pennsylvania, theft by unlawful taking or disposition is graded differently depending on the circumstances of the theft, such as the value of the property that was taken.  According to Section 3903 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, theft by unlawful taking or disposition may be prosecuted as an offense of the following degrees:

Third-degree Misdemeanor

If the value of the property was less than $50, the theft will be prosecuted as a third-degree misdemeanor with punishments of up to a year imprisonment and up to $2,500 in fines.

Second-Degree Misdemeanor

If the value of the property was between $50 and $200, the theft will be prosecuted as a second-degree misdemeanor with punishments of up to two years imprisonment and up to $5,000 in fines.

First-Degree Misdemeanor

If the value of the property was between $200 and $2,000, the theft will be prosecuted as a first-degree misdemeanor with punishments of up to five years imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines.

Third-Degree Felony

If the value of the property was between $2,000 and $100,000, or if it involved a motor vehicle or airplane, the theft will be prosecuted as a third-degree felony with punishments of up to seven years imprisonment and up to $15,000 in fines.

Second-Degree Felony

If the value of the property was between $100,000 and $500,000, if stolen property was a firearm, or if the property was stolen during a disaster, the theft will be prosecuted as a second-degree felony with punishments of up to 10 years imprisonment and up to $25,000 in fines.

First-Degree Felony

If the value of the property was more than $500,000, then the theft will be prosecuted as a first-degree felony with punishments of up to 20 years imprisonment and up to $25,000 in fines.

Consult an Experienced Pittsburgh Theft Defense Attorney at McKinney Law

If you’ve been accused, arrested, or charged with theft by unlawful taking or disposition, or any other criminal offense, the defense attorneys at McKinney Law can help.

We understand the unique challenges that accompany a theft charge and how prosecutors navigate the litigation and pre-litigation processes so as to put the defendant in a vulnerable position.  We believe that by communicating and working closely with clients every step of the way, our counsel will be well-informed and dynamic, ensuring that we can make critical strategic decisions to gain the advantage.

If you’re ready to speak to an experienced Pittsburgh theft defense attorney about your case, we encourage you to contact us at (412) 520-3301 or send us a case evaluation form online to schedule a free and confidential consultation.