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Theft Crimes in Pennsylvania

theft-crimes-in-pennsylvaniaIn Pennsylvania, as in other states, the elements of the crime of theft are laid out in the statutes. First and foremost, it’s important to understand that theft is a crime that requires intent. A prosecutor must show that you knew or had reason to know that you did not have legal right to possess or hold the property. It must also be shown that you took, transferred or exercised dominion/control over the property with the specific intent to deprive the right owner of the use, possession or control of it. Furthermore, it’s not necessary that you actually removed if from the possession or dominion of the rightful owner. If you receive goods or property from a third party and either know or have reason to know that the goods are stolen, you can be charged with theft.

As in other jurisdictions, Pennsylvania makes a distinction among theft charges based on the value of the property stolen. If the total value is under $50, you can be charged with a summary offense and may have to pay a fine of up to $1,500. The charge will appear on a criminal record, so you need to take a summary offense seriously.

If the value is more than $50, but less than $200, it’s considered a misdemeanor in the second degree, with a penalty of up to two years in prison and a potential fine of as much as $5,000. If the value exceeds $200, but the crime is not a felony as defined in Pennsylvania law, it’s deemed a misdemeanor in the first degree, with penalties of up to five years of incarceration and a $10,000 fine.

Pennsylvania Felony Theft Offenses

A theft may be charged as a felony in Pennsylvania if the value of goods stolen exceeds $2,000, or if the theft is from a motor-propelled vehicle, including a car, truck, boat or airplane. Additionally, if you are in the business of buying and selling stolen goods, you can face felony theft charges.

Pennsylvania law also makes certain specific theft crimes felonies, including:

  • Theft of a firearm
  • Receiving a stolen firearm
  • Theft of anhydrous ammonia
  • Theft during a manmade or natural disaster, including a war-caused disaster

Contact Attorney Michael Curtis Greenberg

Don’t go to jail. Let us fight to protect your rights!

There’s no charge for your first consultation. We are available to meet with you evenings and weekends, if necessary, and can travel to your home or to detention to discuss your case. We accept all credit cards, as well as PayPal.

To schedule an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 855-598-3650.

Named One of the Top 100 New Jersey Criminal Trial Lawyers in 2015
by
The American Society of Legal Advocates

Theft Crimes in New Jersey

theft-crimes-in-new-jerseyIn New Jersey, theft crimes can be classified as either disorderly persons offenses or indictable offenses. In New Jersey, as in other states, theft crimes generally require intent. To be charged, a person must have knowingly or purposefully taken, transferred or exercised control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the actual owner of dominion, use or control. In most instances, the specific charge in a theft prosecution will depend on the value of the goods or services taken.

Here’s an overview of the different types of theft crimes in New Jersey.

Petty Theft

A theft is considered a petty theft—a disorderly persons offense—if the amount taken is less than $200. The penalty can be significant, though. If convicted, you can face up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines, as well as restitution.

Other Theft Crimes

As a general rule, all theft crimes where the value exceeds $200 may be charged as indictable offenses. If the value is between $200 and $500, the offense may be prosecuted as a crime of the fourth degree, with the potential for 18 months in prison and $10,000 in fines. If the value exceeds $500, but is less than $75,000, it’s generally charged as a crime in the third degree, with a potential three to five year term of incarceration and up to $15,000 in fines. Any theft of goods or services in excess of $75,000 is a crime in the second degree, with the possibility of $150,000 in fines and 5 to 10 years in prison.

Contact the Law Office of Michael Curtis Greenberg

Don’t go to jail. Let us fight to protect your rights!

There’s no charge for your first consultation. We are available to meet with you evenings and weekends, if necessary, and can travel to your home or to detention to discuss your case. We accept all credit cards, as well as PayPal.

To schedule an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 855-598-3650.

Named One of the Top 100 New Jersey Criminal Trial Lawyers in 2015
by
The American Society of Legal Advocates

Simple vs. Aggravated Assault in Pennsylvania

simple-vs-aggravated-assault-in-pennsylvaniaIn Pennsylvania, as in other states, there’s a distinction between simple assault and aggravated assault. The difference can be critical and mean the difference between probation and fines or incarceration. The important thing to understand about both simple and aggravated assault—there’s no requirement of physical contact or touching. You can be charged with assault for causing a reasonable apprehension of impending harm.

Simple Assault in Pennsylvania

Simple assault is customarily charged as a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, with a maximum fine of $5,000 and potential for up to two years of incarceration. Assault typically requires intent, but a person may be charged with assault for negligently causing bodily injury with a deadly weapon. In addition, if the victim is under the age of 13 and the perpetrator is at least 21, the charges may be elevated, resulting in the possibility of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault, a felony in Pennsylvania, involves the attempt or actual causing of “serious bodily harm.” A conviction for aggravated assault can carry a penalty of 20 years in prison and fines of as much as $25,000. It’s not necessary that you actually cause “serious bodily harm,” but that you intended to do so. “Serious bodily injury” in Pennsylvania generally refers to an injury that would create a “substantial risk of death, or that would cause serious permanent disfigurement, or that would lead to protracted loss or impairment of a bodily member or organ.

Contact the Law Office of Michael Curtis Greenberg

You don’t have to go to jail. Let attorney Greenberg fight to protect your rights!

Your first consultation is free. We’ll meet with you evenings and weekends, if necessary, and can travel to your home or to detention to discuss your case. We take all credit cards, as well as PayPal.

For an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 855-598-3650.

Named One of the Top 100 New Jersey Criminal Trial Lawyers in 2015
by
The American Society of Legal Advocates

Simple vs. Aggravated Assault in New Jersey

simple-vs-aggravated-assault-in-new-jerseyLet’s say that you were involved in an altercation and police were called to break it up. You may be facing an assault charge. In New Jersey, that can take at least two different forms—simple assault of aggravated assault. Here’s the difference.

Simple Assault

Simple assault is a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey (what most others states refer to as a “misdemeanor”). Simple assault requires intent—accidentally striking a person is typically not assault, unless you meant to hit another person, but missed (this is known as “transferred intent”), or if the unintended assault was with a deadly weapon.

To constitute assault, your actions must be either intentional or reckless and must be for the purpose of causing bodily injury to another person. However, there’s no requirement that you make actual physical contact or that there be any touching at all. If you create a reasonable apprehension of immediate harm, that can be prosecuted as simple assault.

Aggravated Assault

In New Jersey, aggravated assault is an indictable offense, comparable to a felony in other jurisdictions. There are a number of factors that cause a simple assault to be elevated to an aggravated assault:

  • The use of a weapon (including the type of weapon)
  • The extent of injury to the victim
  • Whether the victim was a police officer or public employee performing his or her official duties
  • Whether the assault was by automobile

Contact the Law Office of Michael Curtis Greenberg

Don’t lose go to jail. We will fight to protect your rights!

There’s no charge for your first consultation. We are available to meet with you evenings and weekends, if necessary, and can travel to your home or to detention to discuss your case. We accept all credit cards, as well as PayPal.

To schedule an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 855-598-3650.

Named One of the Top 100 New Jersey Criminal Trial Lawyers in 2015
by
The American Society of Legal Advocates

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Happy Independence Day

Driving under the Influence of Drugs in Pennsylvania

Drinking, Drugs and Driving

So you’ve been stopped by police on the roadway in Pennsylvania and it’s determined that you are operating your motor vehicle after having taken a prescription drug, one that was legally prescribed for you. Are you in violation of the law? What are the potential consequences?

In Pennsylvania, as in other states, there are laws, similar to DUI laws, which make it illegal to drive under the influence of drugs (DUID). Pennsylvania is considered to be a “zero tolerance” state with respect to driving under the influence of controlled substances.

According to Section 75-3802 of the Pennsylvania statutes, you may not be in actual control of the movement of a motor vehicle if there is “any amount” of a prohibited substance in your blood. Accordingly, a police officer can pull you over and can arrest you based on any reasonable suspicion that you are under the influence of a banned substance. The statute does not require actual evidence of impaired driving—a police officer may make the stop and arrest on any reasonable evidence.

Under Pennsylvania law, you can face a DUID charge if you have any trace of any controlled substance regulated by the federal government in your bloodstream. However, the drug does not need to be on the list of controlled substances, but need only be shown to have impaired your ability to drive. Pennsylvania recognizes the implied consent rule, which holds that, by getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, you impliedly consent to take a blood test when there’s probable cause to suspect driving under the influence. If you refuse, that evidence can be used against you at trial.

Contact Attorney Michael Curtis Greenberg

Don’t lose your license or go to jail. Let us fight to protect your rights!

There’s no charge for your first consultation. We are available to meet with you evenings and weekends, if necessary, and can travel to your home or to detention to discuss your case. We accept all credit cards, as well as PayPal.

To schedule an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 855-598-3650.

Named One of the Top 100 New Jersey Criminal Trial Lawyers in 2015
by
The American Society of Legal Advocates

Driving under the Influence of Drugs in New Jersey

Drinking, Drugs and Driving

There’s a lot of emphasis on drinking and driving, but New Jersey also has a law that prohibits driving under the influence of drugs. According to NJSA 39:4-50, it is illegal to operate any motor vehicle “while under the influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug.” Unlike laws governing drinking and driving, there are no specified levels of intoxication or influence, and there’s no blood testing standard by which you can be found guilty. Instead, the determination of impairment is made on a case-by-case basis, and is often entirely at the discretion of the arresting officer or prosecutor.

Furthermore, the law doesn’t identify specific drugs that can lead to prosecution. In practice, though, prosecutors typically consider any drug regulated as a controlled substance to be grounds for a DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) prosecution. Accordingly, this means that you could be charged with impaired driving if you were under the influence of prescription drugs that you were legally taking.

If you are pulled over and charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs, you can face prosecution in a manner similar to being charged with drinking and driving. You can also expect that the penalties imposed will be comparable to those for a drunk driving conviction.

Contact the Law Office of Michael Curtis Greenberg

Don’t lose your license or go to jail. Let us fight to protect your rights!

There’s no charge for your first consultation. We are available to meet with you evenings and weekends, if necessary, and can travel to your home or to detention to discuss your case. We accept all credit cards, as well as PayPal.

To schedule an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 855-598-3650.

Named One of the Top 100 New Jersey Criminal Trial Lawyers in 2015
by
The American Society of Legal Advocates

Should You Contest a Traffic Ticket?

should-you-contest-a-traffic-ticketIf you’ve been pulled over for a traffic violation, you may believe that your only option, unless there are highly unusual circumstances, is to simply pay your fine and move forward. In some instances, that may ultimately be the best approach. But you should consider all your options first. Here are some of the consequences of challenging or not challenging a ticket.

Accepting and Paying the Ticket

If you simply pay your fine, not only will your wallet be significantly lighter, but the traffic citation will appear on your driving record. If you have prior traffic violations, that could put you at risk of suspension of your driving privileges. In addition, you may face substantially higher motor vehicle insurance premiums, and may have to lay out a lot of cash and a lot of time to attend a traffic school.

Challenging the Ticket

On the other hand, if you choose to challenge the ticket, you’ll need to set aside time to prepare for your court appearance, and to appear in court. Simply going to court to make your case can take the better part of a day, as you will have to appear at the beginning of the session and wait until your case is called. You may also have to take the stand and challenge the statements or assertions off the police officer who wrote the ticket. And there’s still the chance that you’ll lose and have to pay the fine and any increased insurance premiums. Furthermore, if hire legal counsel to handle your case—the best strategy—you’ll also incur legal expenses.

If the ticket carries a potential jail sentence, substantial fines or the risk of significantly higher insurance premiums, it’s probably in your best interests to fight the ticket. In either instance, you should contact an experienced lawyer for advice.

Contact the Law Office of Michael Curtis Greenberg

You don’t have to lose your license or go to jail. Let attorney Greenberg fight to protect your rights!

Your first consultation is free. We’ll meet with you evenings and weekends, if necessary, and can travel to your home or to detention to discuss your case. We take all credit cards, as well as PayPal.

For an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 855-598-3650.

Named One of the Top 100 New Jersey Criminal Trial Lawyers in 2015
by
The American Society of Legal Advocates

Harassment as a Disorderly Persons Offense

harassment-as-a-disorderly-persons-offenseIn the heat of a dispute, your emotions can get the best of you and you can say or do things you regret later. Often, that can take the form of epithets or profane language, and your anger may even cause you to threaten physical harm to another person. You need to be careful, though, as you might engage in acts that would be considered harassment under New Jersey law.

Under NJSA 2C: 33-34, you can be charged with the disorderly persons offense of harassment if you do any of the following with the intent of harassing another person:

  • Cause or make anonymous communications to that person
  • Communicate with or to that person at inconvenient hours
  • Communicate with that person in coarse language
  • Engage in any other conduct likely to cause alarm in another person

It is also considered harassment if you strike, kick, shove or offensively touch another person, or if you simply threaten to commit any of those acts for the purpose of harassing someone. You can also be charged with harassment for engaging in any course of conduct or repeated acts designed to alarm or annoy another person.

In most instances, harassment is considered a petty disorderly persons offense, with a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. However, there are two situations where harassment will automatically be bumped up to a fourth degree crime:

  • If your intention was to intimidate or harass a person because of his or her race, color, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or status as handicapped
  • If, at the time you engaged in the harassment, you were either incarcerated or on parole/probation for an indictable offense

Contact the Law Office of Michael Curtis Greenberg

Don’t go to jail. We will fight to protect your rights!
There’s no charge for your first consultation. We are available to meet with you evenings and weekends, if necessary, and can travel to your home or to detention to discuss your case. We accept all credit cards, as well as PayPal.

To schedule an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 855-598-3650.

Named One of the Top 100 New Jersey Criminal Trial Lawyers in 2015
by
The American Society of Legal Advocates

Challenging a Breath Test in New Jersey

4. Challenging a Breath Test in New Jersey

You’d been drinking, got pulled over and submitted to a breath test, which confirmed that you were driving while under the influence. How do you go about challenging the breath test? Is there any way that can be done?

In actuality, there are a number of requirements associated with breath tests. In addition, a good defense attorney may be able to show that the equipment used was not properly calibrated, maintained or repaired. Here are just some of the steps officers have to take to ensure a valid breath test:

  • The mouthpiece on the machine must be changed between each breath (not each subject), as blood alcohol readings can be cumulative
  • The officers cannot rely on a single reading—there must be at least two readings in excess of the legal limit
  • There cannot be any radio devices, cell phones or walkie-talkies in the room where the test is conducted
  • The person being tested must be observed for at least 20 minutes prior to the test, to confirm that they did not vomit, regurgitate or even belch, as that can affect the results
  • The officer must clearly ask the driver if they’ll take the test—twice—and the driver must clearly say yes—twice

Contact Attorney Michael Curtis Greenberg

Don’t lose your license or go to jail. Let us fight to protect your rights!

There’s no charge for your first consultation. We are available to meet with you evenings and weekends, if necessary, and can travel to your home or to detention to discuss your case. We accept all credit cards, as well as PayPal.

To schedule an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call our office at (800) 608-1350.

Named One of the Top 100 New Jersey Criminal Trial Lawyers in 2015 by The American Society of Legal Advocates

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