Retail Theft in Pennsylvania
Although retail theft is pretty minor it can put you in line for a prison sentence and damage your chances of securing a job in the future.
Movie actors, celebrities and sports stars have all found themselves accused of some light-fingered shopping over the years. It’s a crime which many of us think is pretty petty; the kind of thing teenagers might get up to when they’re short of cash. However, this one little crime could set off ripple effects which last for years.
The definition of retail theft is pretty simple: under Pennsylvanian law, a person will be guilty of retail theft if he or she carries goods away from a shop without paying the full retail value. It may also include changing the labels of goods, transferring products into a container to be carried away or tampering with security devices. People have even been known to sabotage cash registers to make them under price items.
Penalties for retail theft in Pennsylvania
The penalties vary depending on the amount of money stolen and any prior convictions.
Here’s a quick guide to the penalties you might receive.
- First offense: A summary offense involves the theft of merchandise valued at less than $150. If convicted, you may receive a sentence of up to 90 days in prison and a fine of up to $300.
- Second offense: If you have one prior conviction and you’ve stolen items valued at less than $150, you may be jailed for up to two years with fines as high as $5,000.
- First degree misdemeanour: If the value of items stolen tops £150 with no more than a single prior offense, you may be sentenced to up to five years in prison and a fine of $1,000.
- Third degree felony: A third offense will be a felony, regardless of the amount stolen. This may also include the theft of a firearm. The sentence is up to seven years and a fine of as much as $15,000.
Fighting a charge of retail theft
If you are charged with retail theft, you should seek the services of a good attorney as soon as possible. Their first goal will be to get the charges dismissed. They can do this by disputing the facts of the case in an attempt to secure a not guilty verdict.
The onus is on the prosecution to prove your guilt beyond all reasonable doubt. If they can’t, the courts will find you not guilty.
If your attorney can’t dismiss the case, they will work to reduce the level of any sentence you face. They serve as your guide, the one person standing in your corner when it seems like the power of the entire state is ranged against you.
So, if you’ve been charged with retail theft and want to know more about your rights, why not get in touch today?