If you have been charged with retail theft in Lehigh County, PA, you face high fines and potential prison sentences that could last for years. Also called shoplifting, this offense can affect people of all ages and backgrounds. Sadly, these charges can often happen because of a simple misunderstanding.
With the help of an experienced Lehigh County Retail Theft attorney, you can defend your case and your rights no matter what has happened in your individual case. You do not have to face this difficult time alone.
Retail Theft in Lehigh County, PA
The most common version of retail theft is codified at 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.
Retail theft can also occur in a number of other ways under 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3929:
- the taking of any store merchandise from its original container into a different container with the intent to deprive the owner of the full retail value of the merchandise
- the alteration, removal of any label, transfer, price tag or other indicator of the value of store merchandise with the intent to deprive the owner of its full retail value
- to destroy, remove, or deactivate any inventory control tag or other security device with the intent to deprive the owner of the property all or part of the full retail value of the merchandise
- to intentionally under-ring merchandise in the store so that it rings up for less than its actual full retail value
Committing any of the above-described acts can lead to high fines and prison time.
Penalties for Retail Theft in Pennsylvania
The penalties for this offense can be severe but depend on the individual facts and circumstances of your case.
If the merchandise is valued less than $150, and this is your first offense, the potential penalty is up to 90 days in jail and a $300 fine. A second offense of the same type is a second-degree misdemeanor and carries a potential penalty of 2 years in prions and a $5,000 fine.
If the value of the item is between $150 and $2,000 and this is your first or second offense, this is a first-degree misdemeanor. The penalties can be up to 5 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
The charge becomes a felony offense if it is a person's third or subsequent time committing the act, or the value of the merchandise exceeds $2,000. The penalties are up to 10 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.
Consult an Experienced Lehigh County Retail Theft and Shoplifting Attorney
Joseph D. Lento is a highly experienced attorney who will put his years of work in criminal defense to work for you. He can develop a unique defense to your particular case.
If you have been arrested and charged with retail theft in Pennsylvania, an experienced Lehigh County Retail Theft attorney will fight for your constitutional rights. Call (888) 535-3686 or contact us online today to schedule a consultation of your case.