If you or someone in your family has been charged with shoplifting or retail theft in Pennsylvania, you need to seek assistance from a qualified defense attorney as soon as possible. You may not think that these charges are a big deal or that you can handle one on your record, especially if this is your first offense. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
These charges need to be taken seriously. Not only are there criminal penalties including jail time and fines, but you will face the possibility of having a permanent mark on your criminal record. At Stewart, Murray and Associates Law Group, we want to help you get through this when you need a Washington County shoplifting attorney.
What This Means
Pennsylvania distinguishes shoplifting and retail theft from other types of theft. For various reasons, people engage in shoplifting. This does not mean that they are bad people – it means that they made a mistake. However, there are negative consequences to these charges:
- Jail time
- Damaged reputation
- Criminal record
Shoplifting deals with theft or larceny from a retailer and is categorized under retail theft law. Any time a person carries away or transfers merchandise from a store with the intent of depriving the location of their property, that is retail theft.
Penalties for shoplifting and retail theft differ depending on what is stolen. The higher the value of the stolen object, the stiffer the penalty.
- Summary Offense: For a first offense and theft of value alleged stolen merchandise valued at less than $150. The penalty is a sentence of up to 90 days in jail with fines of up to $300.
- Second Degree Misdemeanor: For theft of merchandise valued at less than $150 with one prior offense. The penalty is a sentence of up to 2 years in jail with fines of up to $5,000.
- First Degree Misdemeanor: For theft of merchandise valued at $150 or more with no more than one prior offense. The penalty is a sentence of up to 5 years in jail with fines of up to $10,000.
- Third Degree Felony: For theft with a third or higher offense (regardless of the monetary value of the merchandise) or theft of merchandise valued at more than $1,000 or theft of a firearm. The penalty is a sentence of up to 7 years in jail with fines of up to $15,000.
Moving Forward From Here
If you or a member of your family is facing retail theft or shoplifting charges in Pennsylvania, your first phone call needs to be to an attorney. Do not speak with prosecutors before speaking with an attorney.