Philadelphia Shoplifting Attorney
Exceptional advocacy for serious charges
Shoplifting is a serious criminal charge which subjects you to civil liability, in addition to the punishment inflicted upon you by the criminal courts. Shoplifting is not a joke. Law enforcement and prosecutors take it seriously, and aggressively pursue violators. The Philadelphia shoplifting attorneys at van der Veen, O’Neill, Hartshorn, and Levin tenaciously defends you against shoplifting charges that could put you in jail and destroy your future.
Philadelphia shoplifting charges are serious
Shoplifting is actually classified as a retail theft crime under Pennsylvania law. The crime defined as taking merchandise from any retail store or other retail establishment without paying its owner. An essential element of the crime is the intent to deprive the owner of the merchandise of its full retail value.
Most people associate shoplifting with removing merchandise by concealing and not paying for it, but there are other forms of conduct that are prohibited by the law. For instance, removing a price tag from an item and replacing it with one taken from a lower priced one is a form of shoplifting because you are not paying the merchant the retail value.
Shoplifting penalties under Pennsylvania law
Penalties for shoplifting depend upon the value of the merchandise that was taken and the criminal record of the person accused of the crime. A person with no criminal record who is charged with taking merchandise with a value of less than $150 may be charged with a summary offense punishable by a maximum jail term of 90 days and a fine up to $300. Other charges and penalties include:
- Shoplifting merchandise valued at less than $150 by someone with one prior conviction is punishable by a fine up to $5,000 and two years in prison as a second degree misdemeanor.
- Shoplifting merchandise valued at more than $150 by someone with up to one prior conviction is punishable as a first degree misdemeanor with a fine up to $10,000 and five years in prison.
- Shoplifting merchandise of any value by someone with two or more prior convictions is punishable as a third degree felony with a fine up to $15,000 and seven years in prison.
- Shoplifting a gun or taking merchandise valued at more than $2,000 is also a third degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and fines up to $15,000.
Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys undaunted by the challenges
Pennsylvania gives an advantage to prosecutors in shoplifting cases. The law allows judges or jurors to presume that a person who intentionally conceals merchandise before paying for it is doing so in order to take it. The presumption applies even if the accused has not left the store.
Our defense team is up to any challenge the law or prosecutors can throw at us. Our focus is on winning, regardless of presumptions or the apparent strength of the case prosecutors have filed against you. Michael T. van der Veen and his team of leading Philadelphia theft defense attorneys have built their reputation as relentless, hard-working and devoted advocates for clients by winning the cases that others are reluctant to take on.
A free initial consultation with an uncompromising Philadelphia shoplifting attorney is only a phone call away
Police and prosecutors move quickly with shoplifting cases, so it is essential to the success of your defense that the Philadelphia shoplifting defense attorneys at van der Veen, O’Neill, Hartshorn, and Levin get started planning a strategy to protect you as soon as possible. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation. We are available 24/7 to take your call at 215-515-6892, or you can use the convenient online contact form.