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DAVID CLARK
Criminal Defense Attorney

Philadelphia Shoplifting Lawyer

As defined by Philadelphia law inclusive of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, shoplifting is charged as retail theft. Retail theft is the unlawful taking of an item or items from a retail establishment by an individual who had the intent to permanently deprive that commercial and/or retail establishment of such items. Taking an item from a retail or a for-sale establishment and not paying for the item is retail theft in Pennsylvania. Once the individual exits the store of location, it is presumed that they had the intent to permanently deprive the retail establishment or commercial dwelling of such item. If you are facing shoplifting charges, a Philadelphia shoplifting lawyer may be able to assist. Call an accomplished theft attorney today.

Laws Concerning Shoplifting

The laws regarding shoplifting involve taking items from a retail establishment that is a store, and items that the store owns and the store has put up for sale. The individual, in retail theft, takes that item past all reasonable points of purchase, exits the store and is then arrested. It is presumed that once the item once passes the registers, the individual is attempting to permanently deprive the retail establishment of such item, and this is when the charge of retail theft comes into play.

Differences Between Shoplifting and Other Theft Offenses

Shoplifting is different than regular theft in Philadelphia because retail theft is taking an item from a retail establishment, and by not paying for the item, the individual is depriving the retail establishment of the item. Theft in Philadelphia deals directly with a person to person action. With theft, one individual is taking a tangible or intangible item from a person who is the lawful owner of the item. In retail theft cases, it is presumed that if an item is up for sale in a location that the absolute owner is considered the retail establishment. Anyone entering a public retail establishment has a duty to pay for items that they take.

Penalties for Retail Theft

The penalties for theft in Philadelphia are determined by the number of previous retail thefts the person has been convicted of and the number of items that the person is attempting to take. In most cases, if it is the first offense, retail theft can be graded as a summary and citation which is $50 or less. In those cases, restitution can be resolved and/or some sort of payment plan can be put in place to return such items. When greater values are involved, retail thefts are often charged as misdemeanors of the second degree.

When individuals take certain items, they face as much as two years in jail and a $5,000 fine. As the amount rises and/or the amount of previous retail theft rises, they can rise to retail thefts graded as felonies in the third degree. In those cases, individuals face as much as three and one-half to seven years in incarceration and a $15,000 fine.

The individual should not just plead guilty to small retail thefts in the past, but fight them or negotiate them. Attacking the smallest cases and resolving them in a non-conviction fashion at the earliest possible stage ensures that a person does not face more serious charges in the future. This is why it is essential to hire a shoplifting attorney in Philadelphia as soon as possible.

Consequences of Misdemeanor Shoplifting

When an individual is charged with shoplifting as a misdemeanor, they often face long periods of probation and large amounts of fines and costs. In the majority of cases, individuals on their first offense can have their cases diverted to diversionary programs which include a first-time offenders program, ARP, or other programs. Philadelphia has many programs set up to assist individuals who are charged with shoplifting misdemeanors. Working with a knowledgeable Philadelphia shoplifting lawyer who is aware of the different roads that can be taken in resolving retail theft is essential. It is important to ensure that cases that should be diverted are being diverted.

How a Philadelphia Shoplifting Lawyer Could Help

Shoplifting can be considered a felony in the circumstance that a person is charged with a third retail theft offense. Once the person has been convicted of two prior retail thefts, the third arrest is often graded as a felony of the third degree. When this includes large amounts of money such as an excess of $5,000, shoplifting can be charged in upwards of a felony of the third-degree. When dealing with felonies of the third degree, individuals face as much as three and one-half to seven years in incarceration and a $15,000 fine. With so much at stake, it is important to get in touch with an experienced legal advocate as soon as possible. A dedicated Philadelphia shoplifting lawyer could examine the facts of an individual’s case in order to begin building a solid defense for them.