The Pennsylvania Crimes Code categorizes crimes into three categories: felonies, misdemeanors, and summary offenses. Felonies and misdemeanors are further categorized based on the severity of the offense. The three classes of felonies are Felony 1 (F1), Felony 2 (F2), and Felony 3 (F3) and the three classes of misdemeanors are Misdemeanor 1 (M1), Misdemeanor 2 (M2), and Misdemeanor 3 (M3).
The minimum and maximum penalties for misdemeanor offenses are as follows:
|Misdemeanor 1||2 ½ -5 years||$10,000||Possessing Instruments of Crime, Terroristic Threats, Indecent Assault, Endangering Welfare of Children, Bookmaking|
|Misdemeanor 2||1-2 years||$5,000||Simple Assault, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Manufacture or Sale of False Identification, False Reports to Law Enforcement Authorities|
|Misdemeanor 3||6 months – 1 year||$2,500||Harassment, Defiant Trespass, Disorderly Conduct, Loitering and Prowling, Selling Liquor to Minors|
While the chart above includes offenses in each category, the classification is not always clear. There are a number of factors that determine what penalties you might receive if found guilty, including the seriousness of the offense, your prior record, and factual circumstances of the case.
For example, retail theft constitutes a summary offense when it is a first offense and the value of the merchandise is less than $150. The offense becomes a misdemeanor of the second degree when it is a second offense and the value of the merchandise is less than $150. The offense becomes a misdemeanor of the first degree when it is a first or second offense and the value if the merchandise is more than $150. The offense becomes a felony of the third degree when the offense is a third or subsequent offense, regardless of the value of the merchandise. The offense is also a felony of the third degree when the amount involved exceeds $2,000 or if the merchandise involved is a firearm or a motor vehicle.
Retail theft is not the only escalating offense. That is why it is important to consult an attorney who can evaluate the charges against you and the specific facts of your case.