The holiday season is one of the biggest shopping times of the year. People head to the local stores, or online, to take advantage of sales to complete their shopping lists. While the holidays can be stressful on their own, they can also lead to added stress for those who are in a difficult financial situation.
While some people may be brought to take on additional jobs or loans to cover the costs of the holidays, shoplifting rates also increase.
What is Shoplifting?
It can be helpful to first go over the definition of shoplifting. In its general sense, shoplifting is taking an item that doesn’t belong to you. However, it may also include other things, like:
- Taking an item from a retailer without paying full price
- Changing or removing price tags on products
- Taking off security devices
- Transferring items into different containers to avoid paying full price
Both shoppers and employees can be charged with shoplifting charges. An employee who gives away items for less than their value, or for free, can also be charged.
Shoplifting Consequences in Pennsylvania
Shoplifting charges can be life-changing. They can lead to a permanent criminal record and even potential jail time. In Pennsylvania, the consequences vary, depending on the value of items stolen. The state also factors in whether it is the person’s first time dealing with shoplifting charges. Potential consequences may lead to:
- First offense with a value less than $150: This is considered a summary offense. It can lead to up to 90 days in jail and legal fines of up to $300.
- Second offense with a value less than $150: This is considered a second-degree misdemeanor charge. It can lead to up to two years in jail and fines of up to $5,000.
- First or second offense, with a value of $150 or more: This is a misdemeanor, and can lead to up to five years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
- Third or more offense, or first offense with items valued at more than $1,000: This is a third-degree felony and can lead to up to seven years in prison, and fines of up to $15,000.
Convicted offenders may be subject to even more consequences. They may be ordered to pay restitution to the retailer. They may also be required to complete community service.
Your Options Following a Shoplifting Charge
If you’re dealing with shoplifting charges this holiday season, it’s important to consider your options as soon as possible. Otherwise, you could be met with jail time and expensive fines. A lawyer can help you evaluate your potential defenses, aiming to reduce or drop your legal charges.
Shoplifting is sometimes a simple mistake. You may not have realized that you walked out of the store with an item you hadn’t yet purchased. You need a lawyer who can understand the details of your shoplifting case, helping you choose the best defense. If your teen is in trouble for shoplifting, the consequences could affect their future, making it even more important to work with a criminal defense lawyer.
Contact an Experienced Erie Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Shoplifting Charges in Pennsylvania
Were you arrested or charged with shoplifting in Pennsylvania. The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. have successfully represented clients charged with shoplifting in Erie, Millcreek, Harborcreek, Fairview, and throughout Pennsylvania. Call (814) 833-7100 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 2525 W 26th St., Erie, PA 16506, as well as offices located in Meadville and North East, PA.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.
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