Philadelphia Shoplifting Attorney
Shoplifting is one of the most common theft crimes in Philadelphia. Called retail theft in the Pennsylvania courts, its punishment ranges from a summary offense to a felony depending on the value of what was taken and how many times a person has been previously convicted. You will need to retain a Philadelphia shoplifting attorney who can clearly explain the charges and tell your side of the story. You might have left a store carrying something you forgot to pay for. Or you could have just followed an impulse when you couldn’t find a sales associate. If so, you are not alone.
What You Need To Know About Retail Theft
In Pennsylvania, you have committed retail theft if you:
- Take possession of, carry away, transfer, or cause to be carried away or transferred, any merchandise that is displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by a store with the intention of depriving the merchant of the possession, use or benefit of the merchandise without paying the full retail value.
- Alter, transfer or remove any label or price tag that aids in determining the value of the merchandise and that is affixed to it, and then attempt to purchase the merchandise at less than the full retail value with the intention of depriving the merchant of the full retail value.
- Transfer merchandise from the container it is displayed in to any other container with the intention of depriving the merchant of all or part of the full retail value of the merchandise.
- Ring up a sale at less than the full retail value with the intention of depriving the merchant of the full retail value of the merchandise.
- Destroy, remove or deactivate any control tag or mechanism used to prevent retail theft with the intention of depriving the merchant of the possession, use or benefit of the merchandise without paying the full retail value.
If you are found intentionally concealing something you did not pay for on the premises of a store or outside the store, it is presumed that you have hidden it so you could shoplift it.
A store owner or employee who has probable cause to believe you have shoplifted has the right to detain you and recover any merchandise you did not purchase.
If you have been charged with retail theft and you are 16 or older, you will be fingerprinted.
Levels Of Retail Theft Offenses
Retail theft is a:
- Summary offense when it is a first offense and the value of the merchandise is less than $150.
- Misdemeanor of the second degree when the offense is a second offense and the value of the merchandise is less than $150.
- Misdemeanor of the first degree when the offense is a first or second offense and the value of the merchandise is $150 or more.
- Felony of the third degree when the offense is a third or subsequent offense, regardless of the value of the merchandise.
- Felony of the third degree when the amount involved exceeds $2,000 or if the merchandise involved is a firearm or a motor vehicle.
What To Do If You Are Charged
If you are charged with retail theft, do not anger the arresting officer unnecessarily. At this stage, do not discuss what happened with the police or claim your innocence.
- As with most criminal charges, you should not talk to the police or prosecutors without your attorney by your side. What you say can be taken out of context and used against you.
- If the police question you, tell them you want a lawyer and politely refuse to answer their questions.
What a Philadelphia Shoplifting Attorney Can Do
Your lawyer will carefully review every aspect of your case to determine if there is evidence for all you have been accused of.
- Your lawyer will make every effort to discredit any evidence not in your favor.
- Much of what your lawyer can do to help you will depend on the exact circumstances of your case.
Your lawyer will be looking at every avenue that can help you, so it’s important that you give them all of the information that can support your case.
How a Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney Will Help
When you are up against a retail theft charge, even before your first hearing you will be facing a determined prosecutor. You need an attorney who will stand by you every step of the way, work hard to discredit any evidence – and work with you to determine your best course of action.
Pennsylvania Retail Theft Law
Retail theft is described and defined under The Pennsylvania Criminal Code under Title 18, Chapter 39. Read the code here.
Questions? Contact us today.
Questions? Contact us today.
Based on the evidence, Fienman Defense will try to show that the charges should be dismissed. If it’s in your best interest, we will work to negotiate a lesser sentence. Should the case go to trial, we will fight to present the strongest defense possible for your situation.