How You Can Get Theft Charges Dropped
Updated: Jan 29
Some criminal charges are eligible for being dropped, expunged, or even pardoned. Theft charges fall under that category, though it varies by the severity of the crime. Getting the charges dropped is not an easy process, but it is possible. An experienced and qualified defense lawyer can advise you of all potential defenses at trial and the likelihood of success.
Types of Theft Charges
The severity of theft charges vary as there are multiple types of theft according to Pennsylvania law. They range from third-degree misdemeanor to first-degree felony depending on factors such as the monetary value of what was stolen, if force was involved, and if you were buying or selling stolen property. The severity of the charge will strongly influence the odds of being able to have the case dropped or the charges or reduced.
Role of the Prosecution
The prosecution bears the burden of proof in every criminal case. To bring a case, they must believe they have enough evidence to prove their case. If they aren’t confident in the strength of their case, they may be persuaded to drop the charges. Whether to continue a prosecution or drop charges is within the discretion of the District Attorney’s Office of the County in which you are charged. A good defense lawyer, who has experience in that County, may be able to successfully argue at an early stage of the case, for charges to be dismissed or reduced. It is important to seek and retain counsel right away when facing charges.
You can also get charges dropped if you agree to a plea bargain. Simply put, a plea bargain is when you make a deal with the prosecution regarding the outcome of your case. Qualified counsel can advise when it is in your interest to resolve the case through a plea deal as opposed to taking the case to trial. Of course, that decision always remains with the accused.
Reduce Felony to Misdemeanor
If you’re not able to have your theft charges dropped it’s possible to have them reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. This can help alleviate some of the long-lasting consequences of a felony conviction. There are three ways in which you can have a felony reduced:
The charges may have been improperly graded as a felony from the start. Because of the many factors which go into grading criminal offenses, you’ll want to have a criminal defense attorney in the Doylestown, PA area on your side who can make sure you are treated fairly in court and the charges against you are accurate.
You may agree to a plea bargain. In exchange for a guilty plea to a misdemeanor, the prosecution may agree to drop the felony charges.
Diversionary programs. Each jurisdiction has several diversionary programs that may make your case eligible for outright dismissal or reduction from felony to misdemeanor charges. An experienced defense attorney will know the available programs you are eligible for and can advise if it is in your interest to take advantage of one.
Protect Your Livelihood
A criminal record can pose a detriment to your daily life. A felony in particular can take away certain rights that you were otherwise guaranteed as a U.S. citizen. To keep your life from being so severely impacted, contact the office of Schatz and Stancu LLP. We’ll make sure you receive fair treatment throughout the process and at trial. We will fight to prevent your rights from being impeded or taken away. If you or someone you know needs a Bucks County criminal defense lawyer, don’t hesitate. Contact our office today.