Facing an accusation for theft is no small issue; for those going through such an unfortunate situation, proving innocence can be an overwhelming task. Even if the theft was small, many Pennsylvania residents find themselves in a prolonged legal battle.
A theft charge can leave a severe mark on one's record, thus affecting reputation, professional goals and overall wellbeing. There may be little sympathy for some threatened with these charges, but there also exist other explanations for a theft, as well as underlying issues that deserve attention.
The Sentinel reported last week of some upcoming potential changes in Pennsylvania's theft laws. The state's current laws hold that a third theft offense of any type is a felony, but some lawmakers have recently reconsidered its severity. Those stealing even small items multiple times could face felony charges. House Bill 2098 could change these current regulations by modifying the highest level of retail theft to constitute as no more than a misdemeanor. The only exception to this possible change involves the theft of a gun, vehicle or property exceeding a $1,000 value.
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives offers a closer inspection of House Bill 2098, which states that not only are felony charges for small theft too severe, but that many instances of theft involve personal battles with addiction. Looking at a more proactive way of combating retail shoplifting, House members have recognized that the problem rarely involves violence. Instead, those struggling with addictions turn to stealing small items. The House of Representatives aims to maintain its misdemeanor penalties for this type of crime, but believe that removing the felony charge can better public safety and the community as a whole.