Sometimes a person falls on hard times and might take an object or two from a store to make it through the day. The items might not cost a lot of money – a $3.00 loaf of bread or a $6.00 package of socks – but the consequences of taking something without paying for it are profound.
Misdemeanor Charges and Penalties
In Pennsylvania, if a person intentionally removes something from an establishment to deprive the owner of the item and use it for their own benefit, they could be charged with an offense. For a first-time retail theft crime involving an item valued at less than $150, the person could face a summary offense.
The level increases to a second-degree misdemeanor when the stolen merchandise is worth less than $150 and the person has a prior retail theft conviction. If the item is valued at $150 or more and the person commits a first or second offense, they could face a first-degree misdemeanor charge.
In Pennsylvania, the penalties for a misdemeanor conviction are steep. A second-degree misdemeanor results in up to 2 years incarceration and up to $5,000 in fines. Which means that if a person took a $1.30 bottle of baby oil from a store, they could face a monetary penalty that is nearly 5000 times the amount of the item.
A first-degree misdemeanor conviction results in incarceration of up to 5 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Felony Charge Regardless of Item Value
If a person has two prior retail theft convictions, they could be charged with a third-degree felony, regardless of the item’s value. The punishments for this level of offense include a prison sentence of up to 7 years and a fine of up to $15,000. Whether a person stole a $2,000 computer or a $8.00 pack of dog food, if they were found guilty of this offense before, they are looking at some severe consequences.
Discuss Your Case During a Free Consultation with the Law Offices of William D. Thompson
A felony conviction can dramatically affect your future. Having a criminal record could make it difficult to get a job, find housing, or qualify for government benefits. If you’re facing a theft crime charge, speak with our attorney as soon as possible. When you retain our services, we will begin building a legal strategy on your behalf to fight charges and work toward minimizing the effects of a conviction on your life.