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Is Shoplifting a Felony in PA?

18 Pa.C.S.A. 3929 is Pennsylvania’s law prohibiting retail theft. Retail theft is another name for shoplifting. In Pennsylvania, shoplifting is against state law. When you’re facing shoplifting charges, you face possible fines or even jail time depending on the severity of the charges. The criminal defense attorney team at Applebaum & Associates explains 18 Pa.C.S.A. 3929, retail theft.

18 Pa.C.S.A. 3929 – Pennsylvania retail theft

18 Pa.C.S.A. 3929 makes it illegal to steal from a retailer in any way. Under Pennsylvania state law, retail theft is carrying away goods without intending to pay full value or by changing price tags, changing packaging or any other attempt to defraud a store from paying in full. The severity of the charge depends on the amount of money involved and whether the offender has a prior history of 18 Pa.C.S.A. violations.

Is shoplifting a felony in PA?

Shoplifting, or retail theft, may be a felony in PA. Whether shoplifting is a felony depends on the value of the goods stolen and whether the offender has any prior convictions for retail theft. If an offender has two or more prior convictions, shoplifting is a felony. If the offender attempts to take $1,000 or more in merchandise, or if a firearm or motor vehicle is involved, shoplifting is a third-degree felony in PA. For felony shoplifting, the penalties may be up to seven years in jail and a fine of up to $15,000. In other cases, shoplifting is a misdemeanor.

Types of retail theft in Pennsylvania

The types of retail theft under 18 Pa.C.S.A. 3929 include:

  • Carrying away or causing to be carried away any goods with the intent of not paying full value
  • Altering or removing a price tag
  • Transferring an item from a container in order to not pay full value
  • Purposefully ringing up the merchandise for less than its full value
  • Destroying an inventory control tag

The penalties for retail theft are the same regardless of the manner in which someone tries to take the goods. A criminal defense attorney can help you understand whether the alleged actions in your case fit the definition of retail fraud.

Penalties for 18 Pa.C.S.A. 3929

The penalties for a violation of 18 Pa.C.S.A. 3929 include:

  • First offense, under $150 – Summary offense, jail time unlikely, a fine is the likely penalty
  • Second offense, under $150 – Second-degree misdemeanor
  • Third offense – Third-degree felony
  • If the value is over $1,000 or involves a firearm or motor vehicle – Third-degree felony
  • A third offense may result in suspension of license privileges

Defenses for 18 Pa.C.S.A. 3929

Defenses for 18 Pa.C.S.A. may include a mistake, lack of intent or an error in the determination of the value of goods stolen. Retail theft is a specific-intent crime. That means that if you forget to pay for items by accident, or if there’s an innocent mistake, you’re not guilty. Let the criminal defense attorney team at Applebaum & Associates evaluate your case and help you aggressively fight the charges against you. Call us today.

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