Shoplifting may sound like a minor offense compared to more serious crimes like murder or manslaughter. Shoplifting or “retail theft” charges can be severe, especially if you have a prior criminal record for the same crime. Consequences of shoplifting include jail time and fines, depending on your particular situation. Furthermore, if found guilty, your sentence will be registered on your criminal record, which carries dire consequences.
If you suspect you are under investigation for shoplifting or if you face retail theft charges, you need to contact a shoplifting defense lawyer immediately. The Law Offices of Lloyd Long will provide excellent representation to give you the best chances of fighting your shoplifting charges. Our skilled Philadelphia shoplifting defense lawyers will uphold your constitutional rights and make sure you get nothing but high-quality legal representation. Call (215) 525-6818 today to schedule a free consultation on your case.
What Is Shop Lifting in Pennsylvania?
Shoplifting, or “retail theft,” refers to illegally taking merchandise from a retailer with the intent to leave the premises without paying for it. According to 18 Pa.C.S. § 3929, you could also face shoplifting charges if you alter or otherwise change any label or price tag on a product with the intention of paying less than the original asking price. Additionally, the statute penalizes people who alter or remove any security device on a retail product with the purpose of “depriving the merchant of the possession, use or benefit of such merchandise without paying the full retail value thereof.”
However, you don’t have to leave a store to be charged with retail theft. If you place an item in your purse or backpack with the intent to steal it, you may have already committed the crime. Even if you do not leave the store, you can still be charged with shoplifting if the store’s staff or security catches you.
What Are the Penalties for Shoplifting in PA?
Charges for shoplifting will vary depending on whether this is your first, second, or third offense, and the based on what you stole. Penalties for retail theft are as follows:
irst Offense: Summary offense for an item worth less than $150
- Fines: $10 – $250
- Sentence: Up to 90 days in jail
Second Offense: Second degree misdemeanor for an item worth less than $150
- Fines: $250 – $500
- Sentence: Up to 3 years in jail
Third or Subsequent Offense: Third degree felony, regardless of the item’s value
- Fine: $500
- Sentence: Suspension of driver’s license for 30 days
Items with a value of over $2,000, a gun, or a car can yield a sentence of seven years in prison
As you can see, first offenses for shoplifting are graded as summary offenses and may carry lighter penalties, as opposed to a third offense which constitutes a third-degree felony in Pennsylvania regardless of the item’s value. If you get charged and found guilty for a third offense you could spend a long time in prison.
Having a shoplifting conviction on your criminal record will make things like finding a job or a place to live incredibly tricky. A skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer can mean the difference between spending years in prison or enjoying your freedom.
Tips to Avoid Shoplifting Charges in Philadelphia
People charged with shoplifting may feel apprehensive or nervous, and that can lead to more mistakes that can cost you dearly later on. If you or your loved one is accused of shoplifting in Pennsylvania, make sure to do the following:
In many circumstances, a person may feel tempted to flee the scene where the alleged shoplifting occurred. Fleeing the scene can lead to additional charges. A skilled criminal defense lawyer could help you fight to get your charges dropped or dismissed, but this is harder to do if you run. If there were problems with illegal arrests or there is no evidence to convict you, we will fight the case in court.
Avoid Statements to Police
If you are caught and charged with shoplifting, you will be likely turned-in to the police. During this time, you should not provide law enforcement officers with any statements they can use against you. Remember that anything you say can be used as evidence in future proceedings and may constitute an admission of guilt. Giving your name and ID information is okay, but you should not admit to the crime. If police are not actively questioning you, do not supply additional information on your own.
Obtain Professional Legal Assistance
Many shoplifting cases boil down to how prepared and professional your defense lawyer is. Experience is vital in any criminal proceeding. Therefore, retaining the services of an experienced and skilled Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer is critical in making sure your constitutional rights are upheld at all times. Tell the police you want a lawyer before answering any questions – and stick to your request.
Retain the Services of an Experienced Philadelphia Shoplifting Defense Lawyer
At the Law Offices of Lloyd Long, we are more than qualified to handle your criminal case. Our Philadelphia shoplifting defense lawyers have a continuous track record of success handling cases throughout the Philadelphia area. Navigating the complicated Pennsylvania court system may seem daunting and overwhelming. However, our skilled lawyers know how to help you throughout the whole case from start to finish. For a free, confidential consultation of your shoplifting charges, call the Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 525-6818 today.