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West Chester PA Retail Theft Lawyer

Chester County Shoplifting Attorney
Retail Theft Charges: If you have questions about Retail Theft Charges, learn more, get legal advice and the legal representation you need from experienced Pennsylvania Criminal Lawyers defending Retail Theft Charges, criminal arrests and criminal punishment throughout Pennsylvania including but not limited to the greater Philadelphia area, West Chester PA, Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster County, Montgomery County, Berks County and Bucks County. Contact our legal team today by email or call us at (610) 692-8700.

Contact Us!

The Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Lawyers of Ciccarelli Law Offices are experienced in fighting for you, representing you and answering your questions regarding Retail Theft Charges. We are based in the greater Philadelphia area at 304 North High Street, West Chester PA 19380 and have satellite offices for your convenience. Contact us by email or at (610) 692-8700 when you need a PA Retail Theft Charges Lawyer.

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§ 3929.  Retail theft.

(a)  Offense defined.–A person is guilty of a retail theft

if he:

(1)  takes possession of, carries away, transfers or

causes to be carried away or transferred, any merchandise

displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or

other retail mercantile establishment with the intention of

depriving the merchant of the possession, use or benefit of

such merchandise without paying the full retail value

thereof;

(2)  alters, transfers or removes any label, price tag

marking, indicia of value or any other markings which aid in

determining value affixed to any merchandise displayed, held,

stored or offered for sale in a store or other retail

mercantile establishment and attempts to purchase such

merchandise personally or in consort with another at less

than the full retail value with the intention of depriving

the merchant of the full retail value of such merchandise;

(3)  transfers any merchandise displayed, held, stored or

offered for sale by any store or other retail mercantile

establishment from the container in or on which the same

shall be displayed to any other container with intent to

deprive the merchant of all or some part of the full retail

value thereof; or

(4)  under-rings with the intention of depriving the

merchant of the full retail value of the merchandise.

(5)  destroys, removes, renders inoperative or

deactivates any inventory control tag, security strip or any

other mechanism designed or employed to prevent an offense

under this section with the intention of depriving the

merchant of the possession, use or benefit of such

merchandise without paying the full retail value thereof.

(b)  Grading.

(1)  Retail theft constitutes a:

(i)  Summary offense when the offense is a first

offense and the value of the merchandise is less than

$150.

(ii)  Misdemeanor of the second degree when the

offense is a second offense and the value of the

merchandise is less than $150.

(iii)  Misdemeanor of the first degree when the

offense is a first or second offense and the value of the

merchandise is $150 or more.

(iv)  Felony of the third degree when the offense is

a third or subsequent offense, regardless of the value of

the merchandise.

(v)  Felony of the third degree when the amount

involved exceeds $2,000 or if the merchandise involved is

a firearm or a motor vehicle.

(1.1)  Any person who is convicted under subsection (a)

of retail theft of motor fuel may, in addition to any other

penalty imposed, be sentenced as follows:

(i)  For a first offense, to pay a fine of not less

than $100 nor more than $250.

(ii)   For a second offense, to pay a fine of not

less than $250 nor more than $500.

(iii)  For a third or subsequent offense, to pay a

fine of not less than $500, or the court may order the

operating privilege of the person suspended for 30 days.

A copy of the order shall be transmitted to the

Department of Transportation.

(2)  Amounts involved in retail thefts committed pursuant

to one scheme or course of conduct, whether from the same

store or retail mercantile establishment or several stores or

retail mercantile establishments, may be aggregated in

determining the grade of the offense.

(c)  Presumptions.–Any person intentionally concealing

unpurchased property of any store or other mercantile

establishment, either on the premises or outside the premises of

such store, shall be prima facie presumed to have so concealed

such property with the intention of depriving the merchant of

the possession, use or benefit of such merchandise without

paying the full retail value thereof within the meaning of

subsection (a), and the finding of such unpurchased property

concealed, upon the person or among the belongings of such

person, shall be prima facie evidence of intentional

concealment, and, if such person conceals, or causes to be

concealed, such unpurchased property, upon the person or among

the belongings of another, such fact shall also be prima facie

evidence of intentional concealment on the part of the person so

concealing such property.

(c.1)  Evidence.–To the extent that there is other competent

evidence to substantiate the offense, the conviction shall not

be avoided because the prosecution cannot produce the stolen

merchandise.

(d)  Detention.–A peace officer, merchant or merchant’s

employee or an agent under contract with a merchant, who has

probable cause to believe that retail theft has occurred or is

occurring on or about a store or other retail mercantile

establishment and who has probable cause to believe that a

specific person has committed or is committing the retail theft

may detain the suspect in a reasonable manner for a reasonable

time on or off the premises for all or any of the following

purposes: to require the suspect to identify himself, to verify

such identification, to determine whether such suspect has in

his possession unpurchased merchandise taken from the mercantile

establishment and, if so, to recover such merchandise, to inform

a peace officer, or to institute criminal proceedings against

the suspect. Such detention shall not impose civil or criminal

liability upon the peace officer, merchant, employee, or agent

so detaining.

(e)  Reduction prohibited.–No magisterial district judge

shall have the power to reduce any other charge of theft to a

charge of retail theft as defined in this section.

(f)  Definitions.

“Conceal.”  To conceal merchandise so that, although there

may be some notice of its presence, it is not visible through

ordinary observation.

“Full retail value.”  The merchant’s stated or advertised

price of the merchandise.

“Merchandise.”  Any goods, chattels, foodstuffs or wares of

any type and description, regardless of the value thereof.

“Merchant.”  An owner or operator of any retail mercantile

establishment or any agent, employee, lessee, consignee,

officer, director, franchisee or independent contractor of such

owner or operator.

“Premises of a retail mercantile establishment.”  Includes

but is not limited to, the retail mercantile establishment, any

common use areas in shopping centers and all parking areas set

aside by a merchant or on behalf of a merchant for the parking

of vehicles for the convenience of the patrons of such retail

mercantile establishment.

“Store or other retail mercantile establishment.”  A place

where merchandise is displayed, held, stored or sold or offered

to the public for sale.

“Under-ring.”  To cause the cash register or other sales

recording device to reflect less than the full retail value of

the merchandise.

(g)  Fingerprinting.–Prior to the commencement of trial or

entry of plea of a defendant 16 years of age or older accused of

the summary offense of retail theft, the issuing authority shall

order the defendant to submit within five days of such order for

fingerprinting by the municipal police of the jurisdiction in

which the offense allegedly was committed or the State Police.

Fingerprints so obtained shall be forwarded immediately to the

Pennsylvania State Police for determination as to whether or not

the defendant previously has been convicted of the offense of

retail theft. The results of such determination shall be

forwarded to the Police Department obtaining the fingerprints if

such department is the prosecutor, or to the issuing authority

if the prosecutor is other than a police officer. The issuing

authority shall not proceed with the trial or plea in summary

cases until in receipt of the determination made by the State

Police. The magisterial district judge shall use the information

obtained solely for the purpose of grading the offense pursuant

to subsection (b).

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