New retail theft laws much less lenient on multiple offenders
There has been a recent change to the way Pennsylvania deals with second time offenders for retail theft and it will likely affect the way theft cases are handled in the future. The state is cracking down on second time offenders with less lenient consequences. The law will change how previous admission into ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition) for retail theft will affect multiple offenders. Under current PA law, a first offense retail theft crime that involves theft of property less than $150 is considered a summary offense and carries a maximum $500 fine and possibility of up to 90 days in county lock-up. Second offenders who steal less than $150 are considered to have committed a second degree misdemeanor and must pay a $5000 fine and spend as long as two years in jail. More specifically, however, a “first offense” for someone some who has completed ARD is technically a second offense because ARD negates the first conviction. The new law would include a first time arrest, regardless of ARD, when considering sentencing for additional arrests. For most, the difference between a summary offense and a second degree misdemeanor means the difference between a small fine–what essentially amounts to a slap on the wrist–and serious time in jail. In all cases, the difference between a misdemeanor and a summary offense is living a lifetime with an accessible criminal record without the possibility of expungement until the age of seventy. The new law is yet another good reason for the necessity of quality representation and advocacy from a trusted criminal defense lawyer such as Gary Gerson. The criminal justice system is making it harder for people who make mistakes to redeem themselves and going through life with a criminal record can make it difficult to find a job, buy a home, go to school, or secure a loan. If you or someone close to you has been arrested for theft, call The Law Offices of Gary E. Gerson today at 800-255-7197 or 412-944-2201 and talk to someone you can trust about your situation.