purchase, george & murphey.

purchase, george & murphey.

Retail Theft Defense Lawyers Erie, Pennsylvania

Resourceful Defense Attorneys in Pennsylvania Provide Compassionate Advice to Clients Accused of Retail Theft

Conviction for retail theft can carry consequences that are much more serious than you may initially believe. In some professions, you may be required to disclose any criminal convictions or arrests for theft-related crimes, and a conviction will go on your permanent record—which is accessible by potential employers. You can face jail time even if this is your first offense, and even if the stolen property had a relatively low value.

After being accused of, or arrested for, retail theft, you may be feeling embarrassed or afraid of the potential consequences that conviction could bring—but this is no excuse to delay retaining experienced legal counsel to build a strong defense in your case. At Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C., we have the experience necessary to obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Our skilled criminal defense lawyers have successfully represented hundreds of clients and fight for our clients’ rights behind the scenes and in court on a daily basis.

Defining Retail Theft Under Pennsylvania Law

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Sec. 3929 defines retail theft to include a variety of different circumstances where the defendant has attempted to obtain merchandise without paying the full retail value. You can be convicted for retail theft in circumstances where you:

  • Somehow take possession of, or remove or transfer, any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by a store or retail establishment with the intent of depriving the store owner of the possession, use or benefit of the merchandise without paying the full retail value of the item,
  • Remove or change any labels, price tags or other indication of value on the merchandise, and attempt to purchase that merchandise at a lower price,
  • Transfer the item from one container into another in an attempt to pay less than the full retail price of the item,
  • Under-ring merchandise with the intent of depriving the merchant of full retail value,
  • Destroy inventory control tags or security devices attached to any merchandise item, with the intent of depriving the merchant of the full retail value of the item.

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This form is fully confidential. We will safeguard your privacy and reputation. We will contact you within 24 hours. If you need immediate assistance, please call our office: 814.402.8826


"Professional, honest, hard-working and made the entire process a lot less stressful."

Gregory F., July 2021 / Former Client


"We really appreciate Tim taking the time to consult with us. He was very professional and had great advice. We really appreciate it."

Leonid K., May 2021 / Former Client

Penalties for Retail Theft in Pennsylvania Depend Upon Value and Past Criminal Record

The criminal penalties that attach when you have been convicted for retail theft depend upon the value of the merchandise that was stolen and your past criminal history of retail theft, as follows:

  • Value under $150. For first offenders, retail theft at this level is a summary offense punishable by up to 90 days in prison and a maximum $300 fine. For second offenders, the crime is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
  • Value of $150 or more, but less than $1,000. For first and second offenses, the crime is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to five years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines.
  • Value of $1,000 or more. If the item was valued at $1,000 or more, the crime is a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 in fines.
  • Third and subsequent offenders. Regardless of the property value, a third or subsequent conviction for retail theft in Pennsylvania is charged as a third-degree felony, and could result in up to $15,000 in fines and seven years in prison.

Defense Lawyers at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. Determined to Defend Clients Accused of Retail Theft in PA

Intent is an important element to establishing guilt in a retail theft case in Pennsylvania, but the prosecution is entitled to presume that you intended to steal the item if you have somehow concealed the merchandise, even if you are still in the store. Our lawyers can explore the potential defense of lack of intent, and will fight to show that the prosecution has not met its burden of proof in proving every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Potential defense strategies for retail theft charges include, but are not limited to:

  • Violation of your constitutional rights, including in cases where you were detained by store employees without probable cause,
  • Law enforcement’s failure to read your Miranda rights upon arrest,
  • Lack of evidence,
  • Lack of intent.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation to Discuss Your Erie, PA Retail Theft Defense Strategy Today

Call our offices or fill out this online form, to schedule a confidential consultation with our experienced retail theft defense lawyers today. For your convenience, we have three office locations located at 2525 W.26th St., Erie, PA 16506, 310 Chestnut St., Suite 111, Meadville, PA 16335 (in the Masonic Building) and 68 East Main Street, North East, PA 16428.

Frequently Asked Questions About Retail Theft

Eric Purchase

Eric Purchase

Craig Murphey

Craig Murphey

Timothy George

Tim George

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