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In the state of Pennsylvania, shoplifting is a crime that is taken very seriously. Shoplifting covers the stealing of items from an establishment, no matter what it may be. People shoplift for a variety of reasons. Regardless of their motivation, all shoplifting offenses can result in significant consequences. These consequences can vary depending on the nature of the offense and the value of the item that was taken. If you were charged with shoplifting, it is beneficial to enlist the services of an experienced attorney to help your case.

Shoplifting Law in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania shoplifting laws are categorized separately from theft laws. Instead, they are categorized under retail theft law. The statute regarding retail theft defines the act as when a person commits any of the following acts with the intent to deprive the merchant of the possession and benefit of the merchandise: 

  • Carries away or takes possession of any merchandise from a retail establishment without paying the full value
  • Changes or removes price tags or labels
  • Transfers merchandise into new containers to avoid paying the full value
  • Manipulates a cash register 
  • Tampers with security devices

Consequences of Shoplifting

When a person is found shoplifting, they can be charged and convicted of retail theft. The penalties for retail theft can increase depending on the cash value of the merchandise that was stolen. It can also vary depending on the offender’s criminal history and if they engaged in prior shoplifting. The consequences of shoplifting in Pennsylvania are as follows:

  • Summary Offense: When a first-time offense involves retail merchandise valued less than $150. This may result in up to 90 days in jail with fines up to $300.
  • Second Degree Misdemeanor: If the offender has one prior offense and the merchandise is valued less than $150. This may result in up to 2 years in jail with fines up to $5,000.
  • First Degree Misdemeanor: If the offender has no prior offenses and the merchandise is valued at $150 or more. This may result in up to 5 years in jail with fines up to $10,000.
  • Third Degree Felony: If it is the offender’s third or subsequent offense, the penalty may be up to 7 years in jail with fines up to $15,000. This is regardless of the merchandise’s value exceeds $1,000 or it was theft of a firearm or motor vehicle.

Contact our Firm

Attorney Newman has represented clients in Pennsylvania for over 45 years. If you need an experienced attorney to help guide you through the personal injury claims process or with any criminal defense matters, Attorney Newman is ready to help. Contact The Law Office of Neal E. Newman today to schedule a consultation.

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