The penalty for theft depends on the laws of the state in which the crime is committed, according to the Criminal Defense Lawyer. In Pennsylvania, as in most states, the value of the stolen item determines if it is a misdemeanor or felony charge with fines and prison time.
The Criminal Defense Lawyer explains that in Pennsylvania, for example, third-degree misdemeanors include items worth up to $50; and, each carries a fine up to $2,500, with a maximum of one year of incarceration. In this state, second-degree misdemeanors for items valued at more than $50, but less than $200, constitute a fine up to $5,000 and two years of jail. Under Pennsylvania state law, stealing an item worth over $2,000 can be a felony; and, it can result in a fine up to $15,000 and seven years of imprisonment.