West Chester Property Crimes Attorney

Property crimes rank among the most commonly charged criminal offenses in West Chester and the rest of Chester County. The severity of property crimes can vary significantly, depending on factors such as the method by which property may have been taken, along with the value of the property. These crimes can range from misdemeanors to felonies. Whenever you stand accused of any type of property crime, your freedom is at risk. Consequences stemming from a conviction of such crimes can range from many years in prison, high fines, and a long-standing criminal record. You deserve to have your case defended by an  experienced criminal defense attorney; one who will fight for your constitutional rights.

If you or someone you care about has been charged of a property crime in West Chester, PA or the rest of Chester County, experienced violent crime attorney Joseph D. Lento is here to help.

West Chester/Chester County Property Crime Defense Attorney

Joseph Lento is a qualified West Chester criminal defense attorney, after having spent nearly two decades working in various roles within the Pennsylvania criminal justice system.

If you have been charged with any type of property crime in Chester County, Pennsylvania and need a comprehensive, customized defense, contact the Lento Law Firm. Joseph Lento built his practice on the ideals of customer service and justice and he will fight for your rights and freedom. Call (888) 535-3686 today to schedule your consultation and discover what Joseph Lento can do to clear your name.

Chester County Court Process

If arrested in Chester County for a property crime, your case will be scheduled for a preliminary hearing at the applicable Magisterial District Court. Chester County is home to 18 District Courts. Should your case proceed past the preliminary hearing, it will be scheduled for a formal arraignment at the Court of Common Pleas located at:

21 N. High St.
West Chester, PA 19380

The process will continue from that this forward, often either resulting in the case proceeding to trial or being resolved through non-trial disposition through dismissal or plea.

Property Crimes in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania law defines a property crime as: when an individual commits an illegal act against their own or another's property. This can involve:

  • theft (either permanent or temporary)
  • defacing property
  • committing fraud to obtain property
  • creating fake items
  • passing bad checks
  • trespass on another's property

Common property crimes West Chester citizens are charged with include:

Common Property Crimes

Theft

  • Also known as theft by deception
  • When a person obtains or keeps another person's property through deception
  • Degree of offense depends on value of the property

Bad Check Writing

  • When a person writes a check or provides some other payment of money with the knowledge that a closed account, insufficient funds, or any other factor will not allow payment, or if it was counterfeit
  • Degree of offense depends on prior offenses and the value of the bad check

Arson

  • When a person intentionally starts a fire, causes an explosion, or otherwise assists another person in committing this offense
  • First or second degree felony
  • Sentence will increase to life without parole or the death penalty if loss of life is involved in the act of arson

Burglary

  • When a person enters a building or occupied structure with the intent to commit a crime within the building
  • Excludes buildings that are open to the public at the time of entry or persons authorized to enter the building
  • Felony of the first or second degree, depending on the case

Criminal Trespass

  • The unauthorized or unprivileged entry and/or occupation of a building or occupied structure with the knowledge that it was unauthorized or unprivileged
  • Felony of the second or third degree, depending on the case

Criminal Mischief/Vandalism

  • Intentionally, recklessly, or negligently damaging tangible property belonging to someone else, with or without intent to damage the person or property
  • Deceiving or threatening another individual into financial loss
  • Defacing or damaging tangible public property, or real or personal property of another
  • Misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of the property

Forgery

  • Altering or mimicking the writing of someone else without his or her permission with the intent to defraud or injure
  • Degree of offense depends on what document is forged

Identity Theft

  • When a person uses or possesses the identification information of another person without his or her consent
  • Each use of the information is a separate offense
  • Degree of offense depends on priors and value involved in the offense

Receiving Stolen Property

  • Intentionally receiving, keeping, or disposing of another's movable property while knowing or believing the property was stolen
  • Degree of offense depends on value of the property

Retail Theft

  • Taking possession of or removing merchandise from a store with the intent to deprive the store of the merchandise without payment
  • Also applies to the alteration or removal of any security devices, tags, or labels with the intent to deprive the store of the merchandise without payment
  • Intent of retail theft is presumed if a person intentionally conceals merchandise with the purpose of depriving the store of the merchandise without payment
  • Degree of offense depends on value of the property and any priors

How to Defend Your Case in Chester County

The consequences of a conviction of a property crime can last far beyond the criminal court proceedings, and can impact certain areas of your life, such as your career, for years to come. Such crimes must be treated seriously in order to avoid these consequences. Several defenses are available to help protect your rights, including, but not limited to:

  • Disputing the Value of Property: For many property crimes, the severity of the crime is based upon the value of the property affected. Your lawyer can argue the value of the property is lower than what has been put forth by the Commonwealth.
  • Disputing the Identity of the Accused: If you were not the party responsible for the act in question, you can show that you were misidentified.
  • Suppressing Evidence: Defense attorneys can file a motion to suppress evidence if that evidence was collected in a manner that was unconstitutional. If the police violate your constitutional rights at any point when collecting evidence, the evidence collected in an illegal way can be kept out of court.
  • Showing Reasonable Doubt: Criminal cases must be proven "beyond a reasonable doubt," a very high standard. Your criminal defense attorney can present areas of doubt to the jury.

Working with a West Chester Property Crime Defense Lawyer

If you have been accused of a property crime in West Chester County, start defending your rights and your future with as soon as possible. Joseph Lento has dedicated his career to helping citizens facing charges like yours navigate the system and making sure justice is served.

For your consultation on how Joseph Lento and the team at Lento Law Firm can help you, call (888) 535-3686 today.

Contact Us Today!

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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