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Theft and shoplifting in Pennsylvania are considered separate offenses. According to Pennsylvania law 18 Pa.C.S.A., shoplifting is a retail crime. It is unlawful to take or transfer any merchandise in a retail entity with the intent to permanently deprive the merchant. This means you are accused of taking items belonging to a merchant with the intent to prevent them from the use and benefit of it. The use and benefit include selling it to a paying customer.
Shoplifting Penalties in Bucks County
In Bucks County, penalties for shoplifting depend on the value of the merchandise allegedly stolen. A shoplifting charge is usually a misdemeanor crime. However, the Buck County prosecutors can also increase the charge to a felony. The penalties and sentencing are:
•Third degree shoplifting misdemeanor is taking property valued under $150. You face 90 days in jail and $300 fine.
•Second degree shoplifting misdemeanor is taking property value under $150. However, you have one prior offense. You face two years behind bars and pay $5,000 fine.
•First degree shoplifting misdemeanor is taking property value higher than $150. If the property is valued under that amount, you can be charged with this degree if you have more than one prior offense. You face five years behind bars and must pay $10,000 fine.
The felony shoplifting charge is in the third degree. You can be charged with a felony shoplifting regardless of the property amount if this is your third shoplifting offense. You can also be charged if you take merchandise valued at $1,000 or more or if the item is a firearm or a vehicle. You face seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
When determining whether you will be charged with a higher offense because of prior offenses the Commonwealth takes specific things into consideration. For example, it includes any conviction and any accelerated rehabilitation disposition that occurred prior to sentencing for the current shoplifting charge.
Prosecutors Must Prove You are Guilty of Shoplifting
In Bucks County, prosecutors must use elements outlined in the Commonwealth’s statute to prove your guilt. This means that to prove to the jury that you’re guilty they can’t mere suggest you unlawful took a merchant’s property with the intent to keep it. They must use evidence to show you did one or more of the following:
1. You removed or changed the price tags or labels on the item
2. You took possession of an item or carried it away without paying the full retail value of the item
3. You transferred the merchandise into the new box or container to avoid paying the full value listed on the item.
4. You manipulated the merchant’s cash register, so the item would not ring up the full value price listed
5. You tampered with security devices on the item to take the item or not pay full value price
Remember, they can use evidence to prove one of the above occurred in your case. However, they must prove beyond all reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. You have plenty of defenses to challenge Commonwealth prosecutors’ case against you. One defense is mistake of fact. Other defenses for shoplifting include, but are not limited to an alibi and innocence.
Contact Our Law Firm Immediately about Your Shoplifting Charge
Many of the celebrities charge with shoplifting make it seem as though it’s not a serious charge. It is a serious charge. Bucks County takes shoplifting extremely serious whether you’re a celebrity or not. This means that if you or your loved one is charge with a shoplifting crime, you must have a strong defense team.
We will guide you through the court system. Most of all, we will provide you with a strong defense to challenge the Commonwealth’s case. This means building a defense that challenges the Commonwealth’s case against you. Contact us immediately for legal representation.