Juvenile Retail Theft / Shoplifting in Pennsylvania


Pittsburgh Shoplifting Attorneys – Ketchel Law

If you are a minor (under 18) and were charged with shoplifting or retail theft, or if you have a child who was accused of shoplifting, the penalties for a conviction in Pennsylvania still apply.

The penalties are very different for children than for adults, but should not be taken any less seriously; any criminal conviction can wreck a child’s future and make their future so much more difficult.

When a minor is charged with shoplifting, the case goes into the Pennsylvania Juvenile Court System and any number of outcomes could follow. The juvenile system has a different set of courts, judges and prosecutors.

The intention for the penalties for juvenile shoplifting or retail theft is to teach a lesson and correct behavior.

Any of the following can occur if you or your child is under the age of 18 and is convicted of shoplifting:

  • Parental Release – The court may give only a warning and release the juvenile offender to their parents.
  • Counseling – The juvenile may be ordered to attend counseling sessions.
  • Pay Restitution—The court may order the juvenile to pay back the value of the stolen property.
  • Put on Probation—The court may order the juvenile to serve out a probationary period of following certain rules, such as attending school and reporting to a probation officer. The court could apply stricter rules if the juvenile breaks the rules.
  • Enter into a Diversion Program—The court may order the juvenile offender to participate in educational programs, perform community service or other requirements.
  • Placement or Confinement—If the juvenile is a repeat retail theft offender, has been in trouble for other crimes or the value of the item stolen was very high, the juvenile may be ordered to serve time at a juvenile detention facility, such as the Shuman Center in Pittsburgh.

If you or your loved one has been charged with shoplifting as a minor, it is important to speak with an experienced and aggressive retail theft lawyer as soon as possible. Call Attorney Ketchel today for a Free Consultation.


Call 412-456-1221 for a free consultation

What Does Shoplifting / Retail Theft Include?

In the Pennsylvania, shoplifting is also known as retail theft.

Retail theft could mean committing any of the following acts:

  • Walking out of a store with an item marked for sale without paying for it;
  • Transferring or causing merchandise to be transferred without paying the full value;
  • Using merchandise without paying the full value;
  • Altering or changing price tags to pay a lesser value for merchandise;
  • Removing or destroying control tags or anti-theft tags from merchandise with the intention of depriving the merchant of the value of the item;
  • As an employee, ringing up items at a lesser value for “friends”, depriving the merchant of the full value;
  • Transferring merchandise into a different container with the intention of not paying the full value of the item.

Read more about Retail Theft in The Pennsylvania Criminal Code, Title 18 Chaper 39.

What Should You Do if Your Child is Charged with Shoplifting in PA?

Since the verdict of a juvenile case can heavily depend on any other criminal charges or past shoplifting charges, penalties can range from a warning to being put in a juvenile detention center. The value and circumstances will also weigh heavily on the judge’s decision.

The best course of action is to get a free consultation from an attorney right away. Having an experienced Pittsburgh criminal attorney on your side to argue in your defense could help in being able to have your sentence reduced or the charges dropped altogether.

Just because you or your child were arrested for retail theft does not mean that you will also be convicted.

If an experienced attorney is fighting for you, there is a much greater possibility for minimizing your sentence or having your charges dropped.

A retail theft attorney is going to be able to negotiate with prosecutors and argue your case before the judge during your hearing. An aggressive and meticulous attorney will gather all evidence and facts about your case, presenting your history to make the best possible defense.

We will attempt to discredit evidence not in your favor and work closely with you to find the best course of action in defending your rights and your freedom.



Call 412-456-1221 for a free consultation


At Ketchel Law, we offer free legal consultations to anyone charged with a crime. Call us today to find out how we can help defend your rights.

Learn more about Ketchel Law: