Penalties for Being Charged with Retail Theft
Being charged with retail theft in Montgomery county is a very serious offense and you could receive jail time, a fine or both as punishment. In Pennsylvania, retail theft is defined as taking possession of, carrying away, or causing to be carried away or transferred any merchandise for sale at a retail establishment with the intent to deprive the merchant. Retail theft is also defined as transferring or removing a label or price tag from merchandise so that you can purchase it at a lesser amount with intent to deprive the merchant or removing the merchandise from its original container and placing in another container with intent to deprive the merchant.
Penalties for retail theft range from 90 day in jail to 7 years based on several factors such as the value of the merchandise, and whether there are any prior offenses. If the value of the merchandise if less than $150 and this is your first offense you will be charged with a summary offense. However, if it is your second offense and the value is less than $150, then you will be charge with a second degree misdemeanor. If the value of the merchandise is $150 or more up to $2000 then you will be charge with a first degree misdemeanor. Any merchandise valued over $2000 or theft involving a gun or a motor vehicle is a felony.
If you have been charged with retail theft, you may be able to have the charges dismissed by proving that you lacked the intent to deprive the merchant of the merchandise. However, evidence that the merchandise was found among you personal belongs or that you intentionally concealed creates a presumption that you had the intent to deprive the merchant. Therefore hiring a Montgomery County Criminal Lawyer may be beneficial to you in fighting theft charges.
A Montgomery County Criminal Lawyer may be able to assist you in arguing a defense of lack of intent and overcoming the presumption. Moreover, an experienced attorney may be able to help you negotiate a lesser offense with the prosecutor and have it approved by the judge.
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