Shoplifting is a serious offense in the state of Pennsylvania. Offenders, especially those who commit the crime repeatedly, may face severe penalties. Understanding of the potential consequences can guide individuals away from such acts and help them make informed decisions.
In Pennsylvania, a person accused of shoplifting could face charges of retail theft. The penalties for this crime vary depending on the value of the stolen goods and the number of previous offenses the accused person has committed. Here are some potential consequences a person might face for repeated shoplifting offenses in Pennsylvania.
Harsher penalties await repeat offenders
The severity of punishment for shoplifting in Pennsylvania rises with each additional offense. A first offense for stealing goods valued at less than $150 generally counts as a summary offense and could result in a fine or a diversion program to prevent future offenses.. However, a similar second offense upgrades the charge to a misdemeanor, carrying potential jail time.
Third and subsequent offenses lead to jail time
Pennsylvania escalates a third retail theft offense to a third-degree felony, regardless of the value of the stolen goods. This could lead to up to seven years in prison. Therefore, repeated offenses significantly increase the risk of incarceration.
Shoplifting convictions create a permanent criminal record
A shoplifting conviction results in a permanent criminal record. This record can lead to long-lasting effects, such as trouble finding employment, securing housing or obtaining certain professional licenses. Therefore, repeated shoplifting offenses can affect not just immediate punishment but an individual’s future prospects as well.
Pennsylvania law imposes mandatory minimum sentences
Pennsylvania law has provisions for mandatory minimum sentences for repeated retail theft offenses. This means that if convicted, a judge must impose at least a certain minimum sentence, regardless of other mitigating factors. This shows the state’s intention to penalize repeat offenders severely.
With each subsequent offense, the risk of facing harsher penalties, including jail time, increases. Moreover, a permanent criminal record resulting from these offenses can affect a person’s life in many ways.