Legal Updates

 § 3934 Theft From A Motor Vehicle

In Pennsylvania, theft from a motor vehicle does not always involve a theft.  In some cases, the defendant can be charged with Pa. C.S. § 3934 where no taking has transpired.  Under the statute, a person commits the offense of theft if he unlawfully takes or attempts to take possession of, carries away or exercises unlawful control over any movable property of another from a motor vehicle with intent to deprive him thereof.

The critical word in the statute is “attempts.”  Allow me to present the following hypothetical.  Jim is walking around the parking lot with James checking car doors.  Jim checks three car doors before the police stop him.  Jim is charged with § 3934 because the DA and police are convinced he was trying to steal property.  Jim can then be tried, and potentially convicted of theft from a motor vehicle having not stolen anything from a motor vehicle.  Jim does not even get into a car.

This highlights a greater problem that I see often in court.  The District Attorney often looks at criminals prior record in deciding whether to make an offer on the case.  In evaluating the record, they rarely stop to consider the ambiguity of some of the statutes they enforce.  A man’s record can be deceiving.  Simply looking at the crimes he has committed does not tell the whole story.  At the Law Office of Mark D. Copoulos, we want to hear your story.  We defend individuals, not persons committed of crimes.  Share your story today.

We look forward to providing you with excellent representation.  267.535.9776