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BenPrince, Criminal Defense Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 28
Experience:  Criminal Defense Practitioner in California
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I was recently back in my hometown in Pennsylvania over Thanksgiving.

Customer Question

I was recently back in my hometown in Pennsylvania over Thanksgiving. I had two bags of trash that I placed by a dumpster. I did not know that I was doing anything illegal and paid no mind to it. Now, because I guess there are documents in the trash that had my name on it, they are talking about pressing charges for "Theft of Services". What does this entail? A fine I'm sure, but what can I expect otherwise?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  BenPrince replied 6 years ago.
18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Section 3296 defines the crime of theft of services. If the amount of services you "stole" is under $50, it is considered a "summary offense." A summary offense is punishable by a $300 fine and up to 90 days in jail. If this is your first offense, you are unlikely to face any jail time. When you say "they are talking about pressing charges," who is "they" and how did you come to learn this? You might be able to take advantage of a diversion or "deferred entry of judgment" program (not sure what it's called in PA, but all states have them) that allows you to do community service and avoid any conviction at all. You should probably consult a lawyer in the county where this happened. A phone call to a lawyer could put your mind at ease, and won't cost you anything. Good luck!
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thanks so much for your help. I contacted the parks services (who I guess were the people talking about pressing charges), and they decided to drop the charges-- yes, during the past 15 minutes.

I am extremely relieved and extremely grateful for your insight.
Expert:  BenPrince replied 6 years ago.
Congratulations! Even though it's a very minor offense, I know that must be a tremendous relief. Thank you for the accept!

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