Retail Theft in Pennsylvania, also commonly referred to as shoplifting, can significantly affect your current rights and your rights in the future. This is a very common offense in Berks County, and individuals of all ages and backgrounds can be affected. In many circumstances, this charge can be based on a simple mistake or misunderstanding.
No matter the circumstances of your case, an experienced Lancaster County Retail Theft attorney has the skill and knowledge necessary to protect your constitutional rights.
Retail Theft in Lancaster County, PA
The simple and common version of retail theft is defined by 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3929(a)(1). It is defined as 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.
Shoplifting can also occur in a number of other ways defined by a different part of the statute, including:
- the transfer, alteration, or removal of any price tag, label, or other indicator of value of store merchandise with the intent to take from the merchant all or part of the retail value of the merchandise
- the transfer of any merchandise in the store from its original packaging or container into another with the intent to deprive the owner of all or part of the full retail value of the items
- to intentionally under-ring merchandise in the store so that it will be purchased at a lesser value than full retail value
- the removal, destruction, or deactivation of a security tag, inventory control mechanism, or other security device with intent to deprive the merchant of all or part of the value of the merchandise
Under any of these potential variations, a shoplifting charge may lead to significant penalties.
Penalties for Retail Theft in Pennsylvania
The specific penalties for shoplifting and retail theft depend on the unique facts of your case and are also based on the total value of the merchandise taken.
If this is your first offense, and the merchandise is less than $150, it is a summary offense with a penalty of up to 90 days in jail and a maximum fine of $300. A second offense of the same type raises it to a second-degree misdemeanor, and now carries a maximum of 2 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
The charge is a first-degree misdemeanor when it is a first or second offense and the value is between $150 and $2,000. A person now faces up to 5 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
The offense changes to a felony of the third degree when it is a third or more offense or the merchandise value exceeds $2,000. The offense carries up to 10 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
Consult an Experienced Lancaster County Retail Theft and Shoplifting Attorney
While every case is different, Attorney Joseph D. Lento brings experience and determination to the table for you. He can create a defense crafted just for you, and work on your behalf to keep you out of jail.
If you have been arrested and charged with retail theft in Pennsylvania, an experienced Lancaster 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.