Retail theft, commonly called shoplifting, can have an immediate and long-term effect on you or your child's future. Shoplifting is a very common offense in Pennsylvania, and individuals of all ages are commonly accused of this act. In many cases, it is a charge based on mistakes and misunderstandings.
No matter what happened that led to your charges, an experienced Berks County Retail Theft attorney can defend your rights and work to get a favorable outcome on your behalf.
Retail Theft in Berks County, PA
Retail theft, at least the simple version, is defined by 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3929(a)(1). It is considered 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.
This is not the only way that retail theft can occur. It can also occur under circumstances described in 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
Any of these variations can lead to a shoplifting charge in Pennsylvania and can lead to serious penalties.
Penalties for Retail Theft in Pennsylvania
Penalties for retail theft depend on the individual circumstances of your case, especially depending on the value of the merchandise taken.
A first offense where the merchandise is less than $150 is a summary offense with a possible penalty of up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $300. A second offense for the same value is now a second-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 2 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
First-degree misdemeanor retail theft occurs for a first or second offense when the value is between $150 and $2,000 in value. A person faces up to 5 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
The offense becomes a felony for a third or more offense or if the merchandise value exceeds $2,000. This is a felony of the third degree and carries up to 10 years in prison and $15,000 in fines.
Consult an Experienced Berks County Retail Theft and Shoplifting Attorney
If you have been arrested and charged with retail theft in Pennsylvania, an experienced Berks County Retail Theft attorney like Joseph D. Lento will fight for your constitutional rights. Call (888) 535-3686 or contact us online today to schedule a consultation of your case.