Criminal Defense Attorneys Devoted to Helping Clients Overcome Shoplifting Charges Throughout Pennsylvania
Clients often assume that shoplifting is a minor offense that will carry correspondingly minor consequences. This belief is unfortunately mistaken, and the Pennsylvania courts take accusations of shoplifting, or retail theft as it is known in Pennsylvania, very seriously—especially when a pattern of shoplifting can be demonstrated. Shoplifting can carry both criminal charges and civil penalties—meaning that a conviction for shoplifting will appear on your permanent record unless it can later be expunged, which can be viewed by potential employers in determining your fitness for employment at a later date.
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Because of this, the advice of a skilled criminal defense lawyer is necessary for protecting your future if you have been arrested for shoplifting in Montgomeryville. The experienced team of criminal defense lawyers at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. have over six decades’ worth of combined experience successfully defending clients who have been accused of shoplifting in the Montgomeryville area. Make no mistake—an arrest for shoplifting carries the potential for jail time and significant penalties. Our lawyers take every case seriously and are here to fight to minimize the consequences in your case.
Penalties for Shoplifting Vary According to Property Value and Prior Offenses
Shoplifting is known as “retail theft” in Pennsylvania and can include any number of different actions including, of course, leaving a store without paying for an item. Shoplifting can also be charged when the accused individual:
- Altered or changed price tags to reflect a lesser value,
- Transferred merchandise from one container to another, so as to pay a lesser value,
- Rang up merchandise at a lesser value with intent to deprive the merchant of full retail value,
- Destroyed, removed or deactivated any type of inventory control tag that was designed to prevent theft with the intent of not paying full retail price for the item.
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If you have no prior criminal record, it may be possible to secure probation, restitution and/or community service after your first arrest for shoplifting. Despite this, the courts have the authority to impose jail time even for first offenders, and even if the stolen property had a relatively low value. Under Pennsylvania law, the following maximum penalties may apply:
- Property valued at under $150. If the stolen property was worth less than $150, and you have no prior offenses, the maximum jail sentence is 90 days and a fine of up to $300 may apply. If you have one prior offense, the courts may impose up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
- Property valued at $150 or more. If the property was valued at more than $150, and you have no more than one prior conviction, the courts may impose up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Two prior convictions. If you have been convicted of shoplifting at least twice in the past, the courts can impose up to seven years in jail and fines of up to $15,000 regardless of the value of the property stolen. Further, the crime charged will be a felony.
- Property valued at more than $2,000, or theft of a firearm. The courts can convict you of a felony and impose a prison term of up to seven years, along with up to $15,000 in fines, where the property value exceeded $2,000 or the item stolen was a firearm.
Let Our Skilled Shoplifting Attorneys Fight to Safeguard Your Future
Although the penalties for shoplifting can be severe, for certain first offenders, Pennsylvania’s accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD) program can provide an alternative to criminal conviction. For shoplifting charges, the ARD program typically requires that you satisfy a probationary period and make restitution, or repay the property owner for the cost of the stolen goods, plus potential fines and any court or attorneys’ costs.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation With an Experienced Shoplifting Lawyer to Discuss Your Charges Today
Like all other criminal charges, an arrest for shoplifting should never be taken lightly. If you or a loved one have been arrested for shoplifting, you need an experienced shoplifting lawyer who you can trust to advocate on your behalf. Call our skilled team of Montgomeryville shoplifting lawyers at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case via phone call or send us a confidential email. For your convenience, we have two offices that are located at 2605 N. Broad Street, Colmar, PA 18915 and 12 Penns Trail, Suite 145, Newtown, PA 18940.
Frequently Asked Questions About Shoplifting
Courts have discretion in determining whether and how much jail time is appropriate in any given case and will consider all of the facts and circumstances in determining whether jail time is appropriate. Important considerations will include whether you have been convicted of shoplifting in the past, the value of the merchandise and the circumstances surrounding the theft.
Yes. Minors under the age of 18 are subject to a different set of rules and may be given a warning and released to parents in many cases. In other cases, the court may order counseling, restitution or probation. You may also be required to complete a diversionary program, which can require counseling, community service and other requirements that the court sees fit. If your arrest demonstrated a pattern of shoplifting offenses or other crimes, the court can in its discretion order you to serve time in a juvenile detention facility.