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Common Types of Criminal Offenses in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is one of the largest cities in the United States. Like many other big cities, there are some crimes that are more common than others. If you were arrested in Philadelphia, it is important to know that whether you are accused of committing a misdemeanor or a felony, as Pennsylvania has strict penalties for various types of crimes. If you or a family member was arrested for a criminal offense in Pennsylvania, you should consult with an experienced Philadelphia defense attorney right away. As a former prosecutor and current defense lawyer, Lloyd Long has extensive experience litigating many types of criminal offenses and can use that experience to represent you aggressively. Continue reading to learn more about some of the most common types of criminal offenses in Philadelphia.

5 Common Crimes in Philadelphia

According to the FBI’s crime statistics, violent crimes and property crimes are some of the most common crimes that are committed in Philadelphia. These are also crimes that carry heavy penalties for offenders. The following is a list of crimes that are commonly committed in Philadelphia.


Homicide, also referred to as murder in Pennsylvania statutes, is divided into three categories. Murder of the first degree is the most serious type of murder offenses; it is committed when an offender intentionally plans to kill another person. Murder of the second degree occurs when the offender did not intentionally plan the crime but was the primary actor or an accomplice. Murder of the third degree is defined as every other type of murder that does not fit within the parameters of first or second degree murder. You should contact a Philadelphia homicide defense attorney immediately if a family member has been charged with murder or manslaughter in Philadelphia. If you were charged as an accomplice to homicide or murder, contact our Philadelphia defense attorney for accomplice charges.


Rape is a first degree felony that can be committed in a variety of ways:

  • By force
  • Threatening to use force against a victim that believes it would be unwise to resist
  • Having sex with a person that is unconscious
  • When the offender uses drugs, alcohol, or other intoxicants to prevent the victim from resisting
  • When the offender has sexual intercourse with a mentally infirm individual

Consult with a rape defense lawyer right away to get help with these or other charges involving sex crimes in Philadelphia.


An offender can be arrested for robbery if they are in the course of committing theft and cause the victim a serious injury. This offense can also be committed if an offender threatens to cause a victim bodily harm while they are committing theft. The amount of force used to take another person’s property does not have to be excessive to be charged with this offense. An experienced Philadelphia robbery defense attorney can help you understand the differences between these crimes and their individual elements.


Burglary is an offense that is committed when an offender enters an occupied or unoccupied building with the intentions of committing a crime, like theft in Philadelphia. The penalties for this crime may vary depending on the circumstances of the crime, but normally it is charged as a first degree felony.

Motor Vehicle Theft

If you steal a motor vehicle in front of its owner or from a person who is currently driving it, you can be charged with a first degree felony. If the vehicle is not taken in the presence of the owner, it can be charged as a third degree felony.

Criminal Penalties in Pennsylvania

The penalties for a crime depend on the circumstances of the crime and the type of crime committed. If you commit first degree murder, you can be sentenced to life imprisonment. Murder of the second degree is also punishable by mandatory life imprisonment.

The penalties for robbery are also severe, as it is normally charged as a second degree felony. In Pennsylvania, second degree felonies are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in criminal fines. However, robbery is one crime that can be upgraded depending on certain circumstances. If circumstances result in your robbery offense being upgraded to a first degree felony, you can be sentenced to 20 years in prison and owe $25,000 in fines.

While a crime like auto theft can be charged as a third degree felony, the penalties for this crime are not to be taken lightly. If you are convicted third degree felony auto theft, you can receive up to seven years in prison and $15,000 in fines.

While the crimes listed above are felonies, it is important to understand that Pennsylvania also imposes stiff penalties for misdemeanors. For example, if you are convicted of a first degree misdemeanor, you can serve up to five years in prison.

Contact an Experienced Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or a family member was arrested for a criminal offense, you should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer for UPenn students and other students or children in Philadelphia for legal help. At the Law Offices of Lloyd Long, we are dedicated to providing you with the aggressive legal representation that you deserve. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your case, call us at (215) 302-0171, or contact us online today.