Pennsylvanian residents, especially the younger ones, may know about the recent shoplifting “trend”. Younger people are stealing from stores for thrill or as a form of supposed protest against corporations. However, this theft affects real businesses and employees, and those who steal may not get off as lightly as they seem to believe.

FindLaw takes a look at some of the basic need-to-know points of shoplifting, including the varying severity levels of shoplifting crimes. It may come as a surprise to some, but not every shoplifting crime is treated equally. In fact, shoplifting can be considered an infraction, a misdemeanor, or even a felony depending on what is stolen, how it is stolen, and how much value or worth the stolen items have. Other contributing factors that determine the charge severity include the accused person’s record. Specifically, if they have been convicted of theft before, prosecutors will often go for a harsher charge.

If a person is charged with shoplifting and it’s determined to be an infraction, they could still face fines. Those who are convicted of misdemeanors or felonies, on the other hand, can also get jail time, probation periods, and hefty fees.

The Washington Post dissects the shoplifting phenomena even further, highlighting the huge loss of stores that shoplifters target. It also examines the potential drive behind shoplifting. Many shoplifters, for example, potentially have an underlying and untreated mental illness fueling their decisions. While some argue that people shoplift out of necessity, that isn’t always the case, as shown here. 

Additionally, the law doesn’t take things like a person’s mental state into consideration when examining shoplifting crimes. Those facing such charges will benefit from the guidance of an attorney who knows what to expect in court.