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DAVID CLARK
Criminal Defense Attorney

Philadelphia Shoplifting Penalties

Shoplifting is when someone is charged with the unlawful taking of an item or items from a retail establishment by an individual who has the intent to permanently deprive that retail establishment of such items. Philadelphia shoplifting penalties involve fines and possible imprisonment, depending on the value of item or items that were stolen. If you have been charged with shoplifting, contact a seasoned defense lawyer today. An attorney could work tirelessly to ensure that you are getting the defense you deserve.

Prosecutor’s Burden of Proof

In order for a person to be convicted of shoplifting in Philadelphia, the prosecution has the burden, beyond a reasonable doubt, to show:

  • That an individual committed a theft
  • That the theft was committed within a retail establishment
  • That the individual committing the theft intended to permanently deprive the establishment of the item

Additionally, the individual has to surpass all purchase areas at the retail establishment in order to commit the crime. In certain limited circumstances, prosecutors can show intent to steal when individuals have specified items on them that would serve no legal purpose other than committing a theft in a retail establishment.

Shoplifting Difference From Other Theft-Related Offenses

Shoplifting in Philadelphia differs from a general theft crime as it is more specific to the exact crime. Pennsylvania requires that the county prosecutors (such as Philadelphia) charge the most specific crime that a person may have been committed. As an example, if a theft occurs from a retail establishment, it is something that has been placed up for sale and the individual committing the theft has passed all points of purchase such as registers or counters, and exited the store, then retail theft is often charged.

Retail theft specifically goes to taking an item up for retail sale from a retail establishment with the intent to permanently deprive the retail establishment of that item. The most specific crime to be charged would be retail theft or shoplifting.

Consequences for a Second Offender

The Philadelphia shoplifting penalties for a second-time offender involves a higher charge, often graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree with greater consequences. When individuals are charged with a second shoplifting charge, they first face judiciary and they deal with a greater charge through the grading system of the Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission.

When an individual is charged with shoplifting, graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree, a person can face as much as five years in jail and a $25,000. Additionally, programs are available to aid offenders who have problems with shoplifting. If an individual is on probation for shoplifting and obtains another shoplifting charge while on probation, that individual can also face a violation of probation for a second or subsequent retail theft shoplifting charge.

Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer

When lawyers prepare to defend shoplifting charges in Philadelphia, they can often look at the specific details of the particular situation involving the retail theft or shoplifting charge. When an individual is charged with retail theft, it is because they took an item past all points of purchase with the intent to permanently deprive the store of such items.

When dealing with these charges, defenses can be raised when individuals lack the intent to commit the crime. Some of the defenses that are common to shoplifting charges involve individuals who may mistakenly pass the point of purchase with an object. Additionally, individuals who have the means to otherwise purchase certain items or are regular shoppers at a location may raise the defense of not knowingly, intelligently committing a shoplifting crime.

If you are facing Philadelphia shoplifting penalties, contact an experienced lawyer today to see how an attorney could help you.