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In the state of Pennsylvania can a Dr. file criminal charges for theft of services?

Erie, PA |

I made 3 visits to a physician who agreed to let me make payments for services rendered. I made 3 payments, but came into financial difficulties and did not fisnish making payments on the finance charges as of yet. They have filed criminal charges against me for theft of services. Is this legal?

Attorney Answers 3


This sounds like a civil matter. Retain an attorney and protect your rights.

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Additional details would be required to definitively answer the question beyond the obvious that such charges have been filed. The far more important question is whether you have a defense to the charges. As I say much greater detail is required to make that determination. I don't, however, suggest that you add added detail on this forum, instead you need to consult privately with qualified criminal defense counsel. I currently have a client who had similar charges filed at the request of a former attorney who has an unpaid balance due. Most lawyers here will extend to you a free consultation. Take advantage of that opportunity to speak with one or more privately and confidentially about your situation. Good luck.

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Theft of services requires that the Commonwealth prove that a person intentionally obtained services by deception or threat. When compensation is normally made upon receipt of the service, such as meals or hotels, leaving without paying gives rise to a presumption that the meal or room was obtained without the intention of payment. In this case, making 3 payments on a civil debt then running into financial difficulties does not seem to fit the ordinary definition of the crime. If charges have already been filed, you should retain an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you cannot afford counsel, make an application to the public defender's office. Do not attempt to handle this on your own. Good luck!

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