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What to Do if You Have Been Charged With Shoplifting in Georgia

 

 

If you have been charged with shoplifting in Georgia, you might feel a little bit unsure about what happens next. People shoplift for many reasons, and you may have committed this crime due to economic pressures or simply by mistake. Perhaps you have been falsely charged with shoplifting. Whatever the case may be, it is important to understand more about this crime and how it is handled in the state of Georgia. After learning more about this crime, you can accurately select the best legal help based on your specific situation.

 

What Constitutes Shoplifting in Georgia?

 

To start off, let’s examine the legal definition of shoplifting in the state of Georgia. The state handles shoplifting separately and with its own set of regulations, although the crime falls under the general umbrella of “theft.”

 

In Georgia, an individual is guilty of shoplifting when they commit a range of actions with the “intent of appropriating merchandise to his or her own use without paying for the same or to deprive the owner of possession thereof.”

 

Shoplifting can be defined as:

 

  • Concealing or taking possession of goods and merchandise at a store without paying

  • Intentionally altering the price tag of a product 

  • Moving products from one container to another

  • Switching the labels of various products

  • Intentionally creating a situation in which you are paying less than the product is actually worth

 

There is another separate charge called a “smash and grab.” This is when an individual causes property damage in order to steal products from a store. For example, they might break down a window or smash a display case before making off with the stolen goods. The penalties for a smash and grab are typically much harsher than for shoplifting. 

 

What are the Penalties for Shoplifting in Georgia?

 

If you have been charged with shoplifting, you face a wide range of different penalties. It all depends on the dollar amount of the merchandise you have allegedly stolen, and the amount of prior shoplifting convictions you have.

 

  • If it is your first time being charged with shoplifting and you are accused of stealing less than $500 worth of merchandise, you face a misdemeanor charge with a possible $1,000 fine and up to one year in prison

  • If it is your second shoplifting conviction and you are accused of stealing less than $500 worth of merchandise, you face a misdemeanor charge with a minimum $500 fine and a possible prison sentence

  • If it is your third time being convicted of shoplifting and you are accused of stealing less than $500 worth of merchandise, it is still considered a misdemeanor. However, you will spend a minimum of 30 days in prison or 120 days of confinement in a probation detention center, a diversion program, or another similar program. Alternatively, you could face 120 days of house arrest. Finally, you may be ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation

  • If it is your fourth time being convicted of shoplifting, you face a felony charge, even if you have allegedly stolen less than $500 of merchandise. You will spend a minimum of one year in prison with a maximum total sentence of 10 years

  • If you are accused of stealing merchandise worth more than $500, you face a felony charge, even if it is your first time being convicted of shoplifting. As above, you will be sentences to a minimum of one year in prison and a maximum sentence of 10 years

  • If you have been charged with shoplifting from three separate stores within one county over a period of a week, you face a felony charge, even if you have allegedly taken as little as $100 worth of merchandise from each store. The sentence is between one and 10 years in prison

 

Legal Steps You Should Take

 

The first priority is to team up with an attorney who understands shoplifting law in Georgia. Look for criminal defense attorneys who are experienced in this area, such as Lankford & Moore Law in Lawrenceville, Georgia. These experienced professionals can help you present an excellent defense in court. 


For example, your attorney can help you prove that it is a case of mistaken identity. Or perhaps they will show the court that you already owned the property that you are accused of stealing. Another successful defense could be a lack of intent (you did not mean to steal the property, and you simply forgot to pay). For the legal representation you deserve, contact Lankford & Moore Law today.

I realized the true function of a lawyer was to unite parties riven asunder. The lesson was so indelibly burnt into me that a large part of my time during the twenty years of my practice as a lawyer was occupied in bringing about private compromises of hundreds of cases. I lost nothing thereby — not even money, certainly not my soul.

Mahatma Gandhi

Lankford & Moore Law in Downtown Lawrenceville

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