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Experienced Philadelphia Theft and Property Crimes Attorney

Experienced Philadelphia Theft and Property Crimes Attorney

Alan Tauber has been a property crimes lawyer for 25+ years and has unique expertise in the defense of theft charges, whether they occurred by force, deception, or plain seizure.

5,000+ Cases
Credibility & Experience
More Than $20 Million Collected
Track Record of Success
Former Chief Philadelphia Defender
Managing a Criminal Defense Practice of 250 Attorneys

Property Crime Defense Attorney in Pennsylvania and the Surrounding Areas

Being charged with a property offense can have serious consequences, including prison, restitution, and negative lifelong effects on employment prospects, business, and housing access. In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, property crimes can be charged under either state or federal law.

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Charges by the federal government are generally more serious because federal sentencing rules are more severe and the federal government has more resources to investigate a case.

If you are charged with a federal offense, you need a federal criminal defense attorney in Philadelphia who has specialized knowledge of the court and sentencing rules in the federal system. If you are charged with a property offense under state law, you also need legal counsel with experience and expertise in the state system. Alan Tauber has worked in both systems for over 25 years and understands the key differences.

Theft Laws in Pennsylvania

Under Pennsylvania law, a person may be charged and convicted of a theft offense if he has taken possession or exercised control over the property of another person with the intent of permanently depriving that person of that property. A property crime defense attorney will explain that property is defined as just about anything possessed of value.
Theft Laws in Pennsylvania
Such property could be anything from jewelry to an automobile to common cash or even services of a person who has performed work and has not been paid. To be convicted of a theft offense, the prosecutor must prove that the accused acted intentionally to deprive the other person of his property.

There are many types of theft offenses covered under Pennsylvania law which include:

Theft by unlawful taking in Pennsylvania

Theft occurs when a person takes the property, money or services of another without legal right and with the intention of depriving that person of one of those items.

Theft by deception

Taking a property from its rightful owner with the intent to deny the owner of its value is theft by deception. This involves intentionally obtaining or keeping the property from its rightful owner through deception which can be done by creating a false impression or preventing an owner from discovering important information or even failing to correct the false impression.

Receiving stolen property

This crime involves intentionally receiving, keeping, or disposing of property you know or have good reason to believe was stolen.

Passing bad checks

Bouncing a check by accident is not considered a criminal act. If a person knowingly writes a bad check, however, knowing there are insufficient funds, criminal charges may be brought depending on the value of the check. The seriousness of the criminal charge will depend on the amount of the check. A check in the amount of less than two hundred dollars is considered a summary offense. While checks in the amount of $200 to $75,000 are misdemeanors, and if the check is more than $75,000 the charge becomes a felony.


Under Pennsylvania law, a person can be convicted of forgery if he alters any writing without permission, makes complete or authenticates the transfer of any writing so it appears to be the act of another person or uses a writing he knows to be a forgery, all with the intent to injure or defraud someone. Common types of forgery involve misuse of credit cards, electronic signatures, use of false identification and fabrication of contracts or other commercial documents. A forgery could be charged as both a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the type of instrument being forged.

Retail theft

A person could be charged and convicted of retail theft if he or she takes away store merchandise or causes that merchandise that is offered for sale to be carried away without paying for the item. Retail theft can also be charged in cases where price tags have been altered or swapped or store security tags have been removed or destroyed. The retail theft charges become increasingly more serious as the amount of the value of the property increases together with any prior retail theft convictions. In cases where the merchandise is less than 150 dollars on a first-time offense the charge is a summary. Where the value is between 150 to $1000 dollars, the charge may rise to a first-degree misdemeanor. If the merchandise is worth more than $1,000 dollars, a person may be charged with a felony. In addition, cases where a person has multiple prior convictions for retail theft, a new case may be charged as a felony.

Common Theft and Property Crimes We Handle

At Tauber Law, some of the most common cases that we handle involve charges of burglary, identity theft, retail theft, access device fraud, and bad checks, all of which involve allegations that property has been taken and should be carefully reviewed by a property crime attorney.
Common Theft and Property Crimes We Handle


Burglary involves the unlawful entry into another person’s property with the intent to commit a crime inside. Most burglaries involve thefts but could involve other crimes. Burglary of a home is considered extremely serious and is a felony of the first degree.

Identity Theft

A Philadelphia identity theft lawyer is needed when a person possesses or uses the identifying information, such as social security number or date of birth, of another person without their consent and with the purpose of committing an unlawful act.

Retail Theft

A retail theft occurs when a person takes or attempts to take merchandise without paying for it; or when price tags are altered/swapped or security tags removed/disabled. Charges become more serious as the value of the property or number of prior convictions increases.

Access Device Fraud

Access device fraud occurs when a person obtains another person’s property, money or services by using an access device-such as a credit or debit card- without permission. It is also a crime to make, sell, or transfer an access device knowing that it is counterfeit, altered, incomplete, revoked, canceled or belongs to a person who has not given permission for its use.

Bad Checks

Passing a bad check occurs when a person intentionally writes a check knowing that there is insufficient funds to honor it. As with other property offenses, the value of the check will determine the severity of the nature of the charges.

Get A Free Consultation Now

If you or a family member has been charged with a property related offense, or are even under investigation, an experienced attorney is needed to plan a defense as early as possible. Decisions made at the beginning of a case can have a significant impact on the final outcome. Please contact us for a free consultation.
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Fines, Sentencing and Penalties for Property Crimes in Pennsylvaniasentence

Fines, Sentencing and Penalties for Property Crimes in Pennsylvania

The severity of charges faced for a property offense vary depending on several key factors: the value of the property, the nature of the offense, whether a weapon or violence was used and other surrounding circumstances. For example, grand theft auto in Pennsylvania is a 3rd degree felony regardless of the car’s value. Gun theft is a 2nd degree felony regardless of the gun’s value.Below is a list how criminal charges are graded and the maximum penalties for each.
  • Felony 1st degree: maximum sentence of twenty years in prison and a fine up to $25,000.
  • Felony 2nd degree: maximum sentence of ten years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
  • Felony 3rd degree: maximum sentence of seven years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
  • Misdemeanor 1st degree: maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
  • Misdemeanor 2nd degree: maximum sentence of two years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
  • Misdemeanor 3rd degree: maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine up to $2,500.
  • Summary offense: maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $300.

Possible Defenses for Philadelphia Property Crimes

If you are under a criminal investigation or charged with a property crime, you must immediately begin to prepare a defense. Each case is different and will involve different theories of defense that your property crime attorney must discern in order to put you in a position to succeed.


Diversion takes the case out of the criminal system’s path toward trial and adjudication and into a program that can lead to a case being dismissed and expunged.


Every case requires the identification of the accused. Identification can be made by mistake or hostility. Raising doubt about an identification can be a powerful defense.

Claim of Right

The prosecution must prove that the accused took property without legal right. Proving a bona fide interest in that property can rebut the government’s case.

Motion to Suppress Evidence

The Constitution requires police to follow specific procedures in the collection of evidence. Failure to follow those procedures can result in the suppression of evidence that cannot be used at trial.

Reducing the Severity of the Offense

Prosecutors often cannot justify the severity of charges and an effective defense can result in a reduction in charges and penalties.

Challenges to Intent

Prosecutors must show that the accused acted intentionally. Charges can be rebutted, where there is evidence of a misunderstanding, accident or confusion by the accused.

Statute of Limitations

Every crime has a time limit for bringing criminal charges - a statute of limitations. If charges are not brought before the time has expired the case should be dismissed.


Where a person has a change of heart and abandons the crime before it is complete, he may win dismissal.
Possible Defenses for Philadelphia Property Crimes

Tauber Law Case Results

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Civil Rights


Settlement for malicious prosecution

Our client was falsely arrested, maliciously prosecuted, and served 28 years in prison. After we won our client’s exoneration, the City of Philadelphia settled the case pre-suit for a record amount.

Civil Rights


Settlement for malicious prosecution and false arrest

Our client was falsely accused of shooting at the police, and he was wrongfully jailed for more than three years. He was acquitted in a criminal trial, and the City of Philadelphia ultimately paid a $3.8 million settlement.

Personal Injury


Medical Malpractice

Surgeon left medical device in patient during surgery resulting in a critical infection.

Personal Injury


Automobile negligence

Fatal car accident ended with payment of all available insurance proceeds.

What Our Clients Say

Alan took on my case after I lost faith in my prior lawyer. His relentless effort and pride made me feel like he was representing his own son. In the end, I recovered nearly ten times what my prior lawyer was even seeking. The money was great but Alans counsel made me believe in our justice system.
Alan Tauber, attorney at law is one who loves the law and loves practicing law. He holds a passion for the fight of and in it. Not only is Alan Tauber a great legal mind of the law, he is a man of integrity. Attorney Alan Tauber represented me for well over 15 years as we battled to right an egregious miscarriage of justice. After serving 28 years of a life sentence, it is attorney Alan Tauber who fought tirelessly to have the wrong made right. In 2019, my release and exoneration became a reality. Today Alan Tauber is still a great attorney, but more importantly, he is someone I call my friend.
Mr. Tauber's expertise was absolutely critical to my case and settlement. He helped and guided me every step of the way through a very difficult time. I never would have been able to do it without him. Having Mr. Tauber on my side is what made the difference!

Why Should You Hire Tauber Law as Your White Collar Defense Attorney?

  • Experience

    With more than 25 years of experience as a theft and property crime defense attorney.
  • Commitment

    Who has resolved hundreds of theft charges in state and federal courts.
  • Track Record

    Who, as the Chief Public Defender, has received the esteem of judges and prosecutors who will handle your case.
Alan Tauber

Free & Confidential Consultation

If the government has charged you with a white-collar crime, now is no time to hesitate. Alan J. Tauber is the best white-collar crime attorney in Philadelphia, with over a quarter-century of experience on his side. Call him at (215) 575-0702 for a free, confidential consultation on your case.
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What is the difference between robbery, burglary and theft?

A theft covers any case where a person intentionally deprives another person of his property, money or services without the intention of returning it. Robbery occurs when a person commits a theft but uses force against another person to do so. Burglary occurs when a person enters a building without permission to commit a theft.

How much does a theft lawyer cost in Philadelphia?

No criminal defense is cheap, including a Philadelphia theft attorney. Fees vary widely, and so do fee structures. For this reason, an average would be meaningless. Some attorneys charge a flat fee per case. Others charge a flat fee for each court appearance. Still, others charge an hourly rate ($400 per hour, for example).

What is the most common property crime?

Burglary, motor vehicle theft, and credit card fraud are the most common types of property crime.