Shoplifting is taking merchandise from a store without paying for it. In Georgia, theft by shoplifting is a serious crime that can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of the stolen goods, and whether this is a first or subsequent offense. Regardless, you'll need the representation of a skilled attorney if you hope to avoid harsh potential penalties.
You can be charged with theft by shoplifting in Georgia for:
- Concealing or taking merchandise from a store
- Altering price tags or other price markings
- Transferring a store's merchandise from one container to another
- Changing labels or price tags between pieces of merchandise
- Causing merchandise to be sold for an amount other than the store's stated price
If this is your first shoplifting offense and the value of the property involved in your case is less than $500, you'll likely be charged with a misdemeanor. Upon conviction, you could spend up to a year in jail, and/or face a fine of up to $1,000.
The possible penalties for theft by shoplifting grow more severe with each subsequent offense. A second misdemeanor shoplifting conviction carries an additional fine of $500 or more.
The consequences for a third misdemeanor shoplifting conviction are particularly harsh and include:
- A minimum of 30 days in jail or up to 120 days on house arrest or in an alternative correctional program
- Psychology counseling and treatment at your expense
Fourth or subsequent shoplifting convictions are felonies punishable by between 1 and 10 years in prison.
Don't Let a Mistake or Misunderstanding Destroy Your Future
Shoplifting charges are no laughing matter. If you are convicted, you could be forced to pay steep fines, spend time in jail or prison, undergo psychological evaluation and treatment, and suffer limited employment opportunities.
Let Rechtman & Spevak's talented criminal defense attorney, Dantel D. Ruiz, handle your defense and protect your future. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation to discuss the details of your case, as well as whether you qualify for participation in a pretrial diversionary program.