A charge for retail theft, more commonly known as shoplifting, in Pennsylvania may not be the most severe theft charge, but the impact it can have on you or your child's immediate future as well as long-term is still serious. Shoplifting is the most common theft crime in Pennsylvania, and associated with people of all ages. It is an offense that is charged due to both mistakes and misunderstandings.
No matter the circumstances of your retail theft case, or the shoplifting case of your child, a skilled and knowledgeable Philadelphia property and theft crime defense attorney can fight to protect your rights while working toward a favorable outcome such as charge dismissal or a not guilty verdict.
Philadelphia Shoplifting Defense Lawyer
In addition to the jail time and fines you could be facing for retail theft, shoplifting in Philadelphia can be seen as a violation of trust by prospective employers, landlords, and other entities that run background checks, thus reflecting poorly on your character and affecting your future. If you or a loved one, such as your child, have been charged with retail theft in Philadelphia, Lento Law Firm can begin your defense immediately.
Joseph Lento is committed to fighting for the best outcome in your Philadelphia shoplifting case, no matter if the defense is easy or extremely difficult. With over a decade of experience in various roles in the Philadelphia legal system, he knows the effect a theft conviction will have on your future and will do whatever it takes to fight against it.
To find out what Joseph Lento and Lento Law Firm can do for your Philadelphia shoplifting and retail theft case, call (215) 535-5353 today and schedule your free initial case consultation. When considering legal counsel as a part of your defense, it is best to contact your chosen attorney as soon as possible after your arrest – so call now.
Information About Shoplifting Charges in Philadelphia
Retail Theft and Shoplifting in Pennsylvania
The simple definition of shoplifting as defined in 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3929(a)(1) pertaining to retail theft is the taking possession of, carrying away, or transferring of any merchandise displayed, held, stored, or offered for sale by any store or other mercantile establishment with the intent to deprive the merchant of such merchandise without paying the full retail value, or otherwise causing such offense to happen.
However, retail theft can occur in more than just the commonplace shoplifting or theft circumstances. The following circumstances also constitute shoplifting under 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3929:
- The alteration, transfer, or removal of any label, price tag, or other indication of value of store merchandise with the intent to deprive the merchant of all or part of the full retail value of that merchandise
- The transfer of any store merchandise from its original container into another container with the intent to deprive the merchant of all or part of the full retail value of that merchandise
- To intentionally under-ring store merchandise so that it is purchased at an amount less than the full retail value
- The destruction, removal, or other deactivation of any inventory control tag or other security mechanism with the intent to deprive the merchant of all or part of the full retail value of that merchandise
To under-ring is to cause the cash register or other sales recording device to reflect less than the full retail value of the merchandise in question. When it comes to a potential shoplifter, it will be presumed that any person intentionally concealing unpurchased property on or outside store premises has the intention of committing retail theft.
To conceal merchandise means that, though some signs of its presence may be noticeable, the merchandise is not visible through ordinary observation. Whatever the circumstances of your Philadelphia shoplifting charges, a qualified theft crime defense attorney can fight to protect your rights and your future from conviction.
Penalties for Philadelphia Retail Theft or Shoplifting
What penalties you will face upon conviction for a retail theft offense in Philadelphia depends on the circumstances of your case, whether you have any prior shoplifting offenses, and, most importantly, the amount of money the stolen merchandise is worth.
For instance, a first offense of shoplifting when the value of the merchandise is less than $150 is a summary offense punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $300. A second offense of retail theft when the value of the merchandise is less than $150 is a second-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
First-degree misdemeanor retail theft in Philadelphia is for a first or second offense of shoplifting when the value of the merchandise is $150 or more up to $2,000. This offense is punishable by up to five years in jail and/or up to a $10,000 fine. Felony shoplifting is for a third or subsequent offense of retail theft or when the value of the merchandise exceeds $2,000. Retail theft in these circumstances is a felony of the third degree that comes with a presumptive maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and $15,000 in fines.
Because of these severe penalties for retail theft and shoplifting in Philadelphia, and because of the effect such a conviction can have on your record, the services of an experienced retail theft and shoplifting defense attorney in Pennsylvania are highly recommended.
Finding the Best Retail Theft and Shoplifting Defense Attorney in Philadelphia
If you have been arrested and charged with retail theft, better known as shoplifting, anywhere in the Philadelphia area, experienced theft defense lawyer Joseph Lento can fight for you. Lento Law Firm is founded on the principle that the client comes first, and whatever defense has the best chance at achieving the client's desired outcome is the defense used, no matter how difficult. Your first consultation with Lento Law Firm is free, so call (215) 535-5353 today and schedule yours.