State College Retail Theft Lawyer

The severity of a retail theft conviction is primarily based upon the value of the items taken and the number of prior retail theft convictions. The charge can be a low level summary, a mid-level misdemeanor, or the most severe charge in Pennsylvania, a felony.  Summary convictions often result in payment of a fine, misdemeanors often result in a sentence of probation, and felony convictions may result in a jail sentence.

Many people think that a retail theft charge for stealing a pack of gum, a pair of earrings, or something as simple as a sandwich is not a big deal. While the charge may only be a summary offense and the person may only face a fine, a retail theft conviction can have long-term conseuqnces on a person’s future.  There is a stigma to a theft conviction that the person is a thief, liar, dishonest, and cannot be trusted.  The conviction goes on the person’s criminal record and can make it more dificult to get a job or rent an apartment it the future.

For many first time offenders, diversionary programs like ARD can be used to obtain a dismissal of the charge.  A dismissed charge actaully remains on the records.  In order to get rid of all records of the incident, an expungement must be filed. A person is immediately eligible to seek the expungement of non-conviction information, which would include withdrawn or dismissed charges.

What Is the Difference Between Retail Theft and Other Theft Offenses?

The easiest way to explain the distinction between retail theft and other theft charges is that retail theft generally refers to the taking of merchandise from a store without paying full price. Retail theft, set forth in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3929, prohibits a person from taking merchandise from any store or retail establishment with the intention of depriving the owner of possession and not paying the full retail price. If the theft offense does not involve a store or theft of retail merchandise, then a different theft charge, such as theft by unlawful taking or theft of services, is filed, and the grading of those theft offenses is quite different from retail theft.

Free Initial Consultation With an Experienced State College Lawyer

For a free consultation with a State College theft lawyer, call (814) 689-9139 or contact us by email.  JD Law has been representing people charged with criminal offenses in Central Pennsylvania since 2012.