Section 3929 of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code defines retail theft as follows:
Section 3929 Retail Theft.
(a) Offense defined – A person is guilty of a retail theft if he:
(1) takes possession of, carries away, transfers or causes to be carried away or transferred, any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or other retail mercantile establishment with the intention of depriving the merchant of the possession, use or benefit of
such merchandise without paying the full retail value thereof;
(2) alters, transfers or removes any label, price tag marking, indicia of value or any other markings which aid in determining value affixed to any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale in a store or other retail mercantile establishment and attempts to purchase such merchandise personally or in consort with another at less than the full retail value with the intention of depriving the merchant of the full retail value of such merchandise;
(3) transfers any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or other retail mercantile establishment from the container in or on which the same shall be displayed to any other container with intent to deprive the merchant of all or some part of the full retail value thereof; or
(4) under-rings with the intention of depriving the merchant of the full retail value of the merchandise.
Retail theft (shoplifting) in Pennsylvania can be charged as a summary offense, a misdemeanor or a felony. The seriousness of the retail theft charge you face depends upon the amount or value of that which was allegedly taken or attempted to be taken and whether you have any prior retail theft convictions on your record. See the chart below for a breakdown of each type of retail theft offense.
Summary Retail Theft Offense:
If you are charged with a summary shoplifting offense, you may be tempted to plead guilty, pay the fines and move on with your life. However, there are consequences to making such a decision that often go unnoticed. Most importantly, with any retail theft conviction comes with it a criminal record which can directly affect your ability to obtain or maintain employment. Before pleading to a summary retail theft charge, you should give serious consideration to hiring an attorney who will not only ensure your rights are protected, but who may be able to offer an effective defense to the charges against you or even help you get your charges dismissed through means of Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition. If you have already have a summary retail theft on your record, contact my office as we may be able to pursue an expungement of that offense from your record.
Misdemeanor & Felony Retail Theft:
Pleading guilty or being convicted of misdemeanor or felony theft carries with it serious consequences. In addition to restitution and fines, you face up to 3 years in prison for a second degree misdemeanor, up to 5 years in prison for a first degree misdemeanor, and up to 7 years in prison for a third degree felony. A misdemeanor or felony retail theft conviction also results in having a criminal record for the rest of your life which can be easily seen by employers, educational institutions, landlords and the like.
|First Offense||Value less than $150||Summary Offense|
|Second Offense||Value less than $150||Misdemeanor of Second Degree|
|First or Second Offense||Value greater than $150||Misdemeanor of First Degree|
|Third or subsequent offense||Value inapplicable||Felony of Third Degree|
|Any offense||Value exceeds $2,000, or involves motor vehicle or involves firearm||Felony of Third Degree|