In Pennsylvania, retail theft, otherwise known as “shoplifting” is treated as a very serious crime. Depending on the specifics of the case, a shoplifting charge can result in a felony offense. Even if a felony is not charged, you could face substantial imprisonment or costly fines. Retail theft charges will result in a criminal record which will make you less competitive in the job market and make it more difficult to excel in higher education.
Shoplifting or retail theft charges should be taken seriously. To increase your chances of receiving a reduced or cleared charge, you should contact an Allegheny County retail theft attorney. You should only consult with an attorney experienced dealing with the complicated Pennsylvania legal system. With years of experience, Stewart, Murray, and Associates (SMA) Law Group utilize their knowledge of law to develop an aggressive defense tailored to your specific case.
Retail Theft in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, a number of offenses can be charged as retail theft and can come with a variety of consequences. Aside from the obvious cause—stealing merchandise from a store—you can be charged for retail theft if you attempt to put a tag on another piece of merchandise in order to get a cheaper price. You can also be charged with retail theft if you put an item into a different container or attempt to remove security tags from items.
Retail theft charges are penalized according to the value of merchandise stolen. For items totaling a value less than $150, you can face maximum fines of $300 and up to three months of incarceration. The penalty will increase if the after the first offense and can be charged as a misdemeanor of the second degree. Punishments include fines up to $5,000 and maximum jail time of two years.
If the stolen merchandise exceeds $150, you may be charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree. penalties of first degree misdemeanors for shoplifting can include imprisonment of five years and a maximum fines of $10,000.
In some cases, you may receive a felony charge. In Pennsylvania, any retail offense after the second can result in a felony of the third degree. You may also receive a third degree felony if the stolen goods total more than $2,000. If you attempt to steal a gun, you may also be charged with a felony. Penalties for felony retail theft can include imprisonment of up to seven years and maximum fines of $15,000.