Many people underestimate the impact a shoplifting conviction can have on their lives. Unfortunately, a conviction can result in high fines, years of incarceration, and a criminal record, among other penalties. Please continue reading and reach out to a seasoned Montgomery County theft lawyer from Cohen & Patel to learn more about these charges, the potential penalties you may face, and how our legal team can help. Here are some of the questions you may have:
What Are the Penalties for Shoplifting in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, the legal repercussions for shoplifting are serious and vary depending on the item’s value. If the stolen goods are valued under $150, it’s considered a summary offense, potentially leading to fines or jail time. When the value exceeds $150 but is less than $2,000, the charge is elevated to a misdemeanor. However, if the value is over $2,000, or if it’s a third offense, the individual faces felony charges. Not only do these convictions carry the risk of fines, probation, or incarceration, but they also have long-lasting impacts on one’s personal and professional life, including difficulties in finding employment and damage to one’s reputation.
What Are the Best Defenses Against Theft Charges?
Defending against shoplifting charges involves a variety of strategies, each tailored to the unique details of the case. That said, one common approach is to challenge the prosecution’s evidence, questioning its legitimacy or the method of its collection. Another defense is asserting mistaken identity, particularly in cases where evidence of the perpetrator’s identity is ambiguous. Arguing a lack of intent to steal is crucial, as intent is a key component in theft charges. In some instances, demonstrating a belief of ownership or right to the item can negate the intent to steal, which is a critical element in a theft case. Legal defenses often require detailed legal knowledge and skillful argumentation, highlighting the importance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help Me?
The role of a criminal defense attorney in shoplifting cases is indispensable. To start, an attorney can provide a clear understanding of your rights and the legal process you are facing. Utilizing their knowledge and experience, they craft a defense strategy specifically suited to your situation. This may include negotiating with prosecutors to potentially secure lesser charges or alternative sentencing options. In court, they serve as your advocate, presenting your case robustly and challenging the prosecution’s evidence. Perhaps most importantly, they ensure that your case is handled justly and that your rights are protected at every stage of the legal process.
If you have any further questions or you need a competent shoplifting lawyer to represent you, please don’t hesitate to contact Cohen & Patel today so we can get started working on your case. We are here to fight for you and your future, every step of the way.