Philadelphia Retail Theft Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with retail theft, often referred to as shoplifting but is not limited to it, then you need an attorney to help you with your defense. This charge can become serious, but if handled smartly, there are defenses and alternatives (e.g. diversion programs like ARD) to a sentence that can help make the process less scary, and sometimes -- with the help of an experienced retail theft attorney in Philadelphia -- even result in the dismissal of the charge or the absence of a criminal record.

Joseph D. Lento, an aggressive Philadelphia defense attorney, has more than a decade of experience representing clients who have been accused of retail theft or shoplifting. His clients have been from all socio-economic backgrounds. Shoplifting is not just for the poor, but people with the means to purchase what they steal also do it -- and that's because this crime is more a disease than anything else. Contact Joseph D. Lento today to see how he may be able to help you with your retail theft charge.

What is retail theft in Philadelphia?

Retail theft is defined by 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3929. The definition is very technical, but basically states that a person is guilty of the offense if he or she:

  • Takes from a store property without paying for it;
  • Alters labels and price tags to pay less for a product;
  • Removes and transfers merchandise to another container to pay less for it; 
  • Destroys any type of security mechanism, strip, or tracking to prevent the alarm from going off upon exiting the store; and
  • Under-rings merchandise at the cash register.

Thus, retail theft can include persons who are both customers and employees and isn't a crime that refers only to snatching a product off the shelf and running out the door with it. The crime is a bit more complex and some people are unaware of the exact nature of it.

Also, the statute allows a peace officer, merchant, or merchant's employee who suspects you of shoplifting or performing any of the above unlawful acts to detain you for a reasonable amount of time on or off the property. This is so the merchant can recover any stolen items and verify your identification.

What is the punishment if convicted of retail theft in Philadelphia?

Punishment is dependent on the value of the stolen merchandise and whether or not the defendant has any prior convictions. Retail theft can be charged as a summary offense, misdemeanor, or felony. The below-chart identifies the range of merchandise value and the corresponding gradation and associated maximum penalties.

Value of the Stolen Goods

Gradation

Maximum Incarceration

Maximum Fine

Less than $150

Summary offense

90 days in jail

$300

Less than $150 & one prior offense

Misdemeanor of the second degree

2 years in prison

$5,000

More than $150 but less than $1,000 (regardless of first or second offense)

Misdemeanor of the first degree

5 years in prison

$10,000

More than $1,000 or three or more prior offense

Felony of the third degree

7 years in prison

$15,000

Philadelphia Retail Theft Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a retail theft offense, you need an attorney who can put together a solid defense. Joseph D. Lento will listen to what you have to say, outline your options, and help you make the best decisions for you and your future.  

Contact the Lento Law Firm today either online or at 215-535-5353 to set up a consultation.

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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