Pennsylvania Theft by Extortion Defense Lawyers
PA Theft by Extortion Lawyers
Thank you for visiting Lampman Law. If you or someone you love is charged with Theft by Extortion in Pennsylvania, we can help. We are experienced criminal defense lawyers that are in district and trial courts daily representing people charged with crimes throughout Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania. Since Lampman Law opened we have zealously defended people facing theft accusations and have helped our clients avoid the criminal consequences and social stigma of a Theft by Extortion conviction.
If you would like us to examine your case, please call Lampman Law at 570-371-3737 to personally discuss the matter with us. We offer a free phone or in-office consultation. All consultations are also welcoming, free of pressure, and confidential.
18 Pa.C.S. § 3923. Theft by Extortion
Theft by extortion involves the intentional taking or withholding of another’s property while threatening cause some harm to the property owner. The crime can involve depriving property while threatening to:
(1) commit another criminal offense;
(2) accuse anyone of a criminal offense;
(3) expose any secret tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule;
(4) take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action;
(5) bring about or continue a strike, boycott or other collective unofficial action, if the property is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act;
(6) testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to the legal claim or defense of another; or
(7) inflict any other harm which would not benefit the actor.
Coercion or intimidation are essential elements to theft by extortion. Commonwealth v. Lynch, 411 A.2d 1224 (Pa. Super. 1979).
Restitution and/or indemnification are defenses to theft by extortion. It is a defense to (2), (3), and (4) above, that the property obtained by such a threat was honestly claimed as restitution or indemnification.
Grading & Penalties for Theft by Extortion
In Pennsylvania, theft by extortion can be graded as a Felony or a misdemeanor offense. The grading and specific range of penalty for Theft by Extortion is dependent on several factors, including the accused prior record score (PRS), and:
the item’s value or amount of money involved;
whether the item at issue is a firearm, anhydrous ammonia, or a vehicle;
whether the accused breached fiduciary duty; and/or,
whether threats were used to complete the crime.
First Degree Felony Theft by Extortion (F1)
Theft by Extortion is only graded as a felony of the first degree if the amount involved is $500,000 or more. F1 offenses are punishable by a maximum of 20 years imprisonment and a $25,000 fine. The OGS of these cases is 8.
Second Degree Felony Theft by Extortion (F2)
A felony of the second degree is punishable by a maximum of 10 years imprisonment and a $25,000 fine. The OGS of these cases is 7 if the (F2) is bases on value. Otherwise the OGS is 8. Theft by Extortion is graded as a (F2) when:
The amount involved is $100,000 or more but less than $500,000.
The property stolen is a firearm.
The property stolen is anhydrous ammonia.
Third Degree Felony Theft by Extortion (F3)
A felony of the third degree is punishable by a maximum of 7 years imprisonment and a $15,000 fine. Theft by Extortion is graded as a (F3) when:
The amount involved exceeds $2,000. The OGS is 6 when the value is more than $25,000 but less than $100,000. The OGS is 5 when the value is more than $2,000 but $25,000 or less.
The property stolen is a motorized vehicle. The OGS is 6.
Misdemeanor of the First-Degree Theft by Extortion (M1)
A misdemeanor of the first degree is punishable by a maximum of 5 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. The OGS is 4 for (M1) Theft by Extortion cases. Theft by Extortion is graded as a (M1) when:
The amount involved is $200 or more but less than $2,000; or,
The property was taken from the person or by threat, or in breach of fiduciary obligation.
Misdemeanor of the Second-Degree Theft by Extortion (M2)
A misdemeanor of the second degree is punishable by a maximum of 2 years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine. The OGS for these cases is 2. Theft by Extortion is graded as a (M2) when:
The property was not taken from the person or by threat, and;
the amount involved was $50 or more but less than $200.
Misdemeanor of the Third-Degree Theft by Extortion (M3)
A misdemeanor of the third degree is punishable by a maximum of 1-year imprisonment and a $2,000 fine. Since the OGS for these offenses is 1, however, probation is the likely sentence unless the defendant has an elevated PRS. Theft by Extortion is graded as a (M3) when:
The property was not taken from the person or by threat, or in breach of fiduciary obligation, and;
the amount involved was less than $50.
Lampman Law Defends Theft by Extortion Cases
It is extremely important to timely hire an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense when facing theft by extortion charges. As explained, Theft by Extortion cases are complex and the accused’s freedom and other important rights are at risk. Hiring the right criminal defense lawyer, as soon as possible, can help the accused build their case by gathering the evidence to build a robust defense. It is the best chance for an accused to preserve their liberty, legal rights, and their reputation.
When choosing a lawyer, it is important to seek the services of a lawyer that primarily practices criminal defense and that the lawyer has personally handled theft cases in the county where the charge is being prosecuted. Likewise, it is vital that the lawyer can and will conduct a full investigation into the facts and circumstances of the allegation. Obviously, challenges to the valuation of the items or funds allegedly stolen are extremely important in defending theft by extortion prosecutions.
Please contact us at 570-371-3737 if you have any questions. Should you choose to trust us with your case, our fees are reasonable, we always use detailed written fee agreements, and payment plans (including credit card payment) can be arranged.