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Defend a Pennsylvania theft charge

Pennsylvania theft charge photo by Isaac Viel

If you are considering defending your Pennsylvania theft charge, it is important that you understand what type of theft you were charged with to better understand what defense opportunities are available to you. Regardless of whether your theft charge was as a juvenile or adult, you may be able to defend your Pennsylvania theft charge by having it removed from your record.

Expunging a First Time Theft Offense

If, for instance, you committed petty retail theft that was considered to be a summary offense, you may be eligible to expunge the theft charge from of your criminal record so that the incident is removed from public view. If you were convicted for a theft charge, but received ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition) as part of your sentencing, you may also still have the option to expunge your theft charge from your criminal record. ARD is a court program that is typically given to first time offenders who are unlikely to commit another crime. If you successfully completed all of the terms of your ARD program, then the theft charge against you is dismissed and the conviction is considered to have never occurred.

If you are ineligible for Pennsylvania ARD

Pennsylvania theft charges that resulted in a conviction that did not receive ARD as part of the sentencing can be expunged as an adult, but must comply with the terms of Pennsylvania’s adult expungement regulations. As such, if your theft charge did not quality to be considered a summary offense and resulted as a conviction, then you must wait until you turn 70 years of age and must have refrained from being arrested or prosecuted in over 10 years from the time of your release from confinement or supervision.

To better understand the guidelines for theft charges in Pennsylvania so that you know how to defend yourself and expunge your criminal record, visit the Pennsylvania Bar Association website at http://www.pabar.org/. When investigating the terms of your particular theft charge, take into consideration whether or not you are a first time offender, and the severity of your theft. Elements to consider are if anyone was injured during the theft and the value of the item(s) you were charged with stealing. Pennsylvania’s laws about theft are complicated. If you do decide to defend your theft charge in the court of law, then you should hire an attorney who is licensed by the Pennsylvania state bar. More information on record expungement can also be found at http://www.recordgone.com/.

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