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The general definition for shoplifting is the act of committing larceny from a retailer. Larceny is the unlawful and intentional act of taking property belonging to another person. The act is done with the intent to permanently deprive the person of the enjoyment of the property. The “person” in a shoplifting crime is the retailer. The property is the merchandise taken without consent. If you are facing a shoplifting crime in Pennsylvania, the first step of taking fear out of the criminal justice process is to understand the charge.
Why You can Be Convicted with Shoplifting in Pennsylvania
Anyone in the Commonwealth can be charged with shoplifting based on no evidence at all. However, to obtain a conviction, Commonwealth prosecutors must prove beyond all reasonable doubt that you are guilty of shoplifting. They must use elements. These elements outlined in 18 Pa.C.S.A. 3929 and any evidence that have.
According to the Commonwealth’s statute, you can be charged with shoplifting if one of the following occurs:
You destroy or remove the control tag, security strip or any mechanism designed to prevent shoplifting from occurring.
You under-ring the item or items with the intention of permanently depriving the merchant of receiving the full retail value. For example, you allegedly ring the item as $1.99 instead of $19.99 to pay less or have someone else pay less.
You take possession of the merchandise, transfer it or carry it away with the intent of permanently depriving the merchant of the full retail value.
You alter, remove or transfer a price tag, label or any type of indicia of value from merchandise with the intent not to pay full retail value
Shoplifting Offenses and Penalties in Pennsylvania
Shoplifting is generally a misdemeanor offense in the Commonwealth. Whether you or your loved one is charged with a specific degree depends on the circumstances of the crime and if you have any priors.
•Shoplifting in the First Degree: You allegedly take merchandise that is valued at more than $150. You also have a prior first or second offense.
•Shoplifting in the Second Degree: You allegedly take merchandise valued at less than $150. You have one prior offense.
•Shoplifting in the Third Degree: You allegedly take merchandise valued at less $150
The only time you can be charged with felony shoplifting is when you have three or more prior offenses regardless of the value of the stolen merchandise. You also may be charged with felony shoplifting if the merchandise at more than $1,000 or you allegedly store a firearm.
Shoplifting Penalties in Pennsylvania
Remember that just because you or your loved one is charged with shoplifting doesn’t mean that you will be convicted. Speak with a defense lawyer about fighting the criminal charge. For right now, it’s important for you to understand the penalties each misdemeanor and felony crime has.
•First degree shoplifting misdemeanor is five years of imprisonment and $10,000 fine.
•Second degree shoplifting misdemeanor is two years of imprisonment and $5,000 fine
•Third degree shoplifting misdemeanor is 90 days in jail and $300 fine.
Felony shoplifting is seven years in prison and $15,000 fine.
It’s important to note there are shoplifting defenses available to use. For example, you can use mistake of fact, you had the consent of the retailer to take the property and innocence.
Our Law Firm is Ready to Fight Your Shoplifting Charge
Shoplifting may not seem like a crime with harsh penalties, but it is. You or your loved one is facing jail time just because of the criminal charge. At our law firm, we understand the seriousness of a shoplifting charge. We start working for you the moment you contact us. We will start building a defense immediately based on the facts of your case. Do not leave your case to chance. Commonwealth prosecutors have convicted people with less evidence. Contact us today about your shoplifting charge.