You have been charged with shoplifting in Georgia. What now? Obviously, you want to avoid unnecessary legal consequences if possible. There is no sense in going to jail for shoplifting if there is a possibility of successfully defending yourself in court. But how exactly do you go about this? What are some effective defense strategies for those who have been charged with shoplifting in Georgia?
The good news is that there is help available. Your first step should always be to enlist the help of a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney in Georgia. Our legal professionals can guide you forward and help you navigate this complex process. After consulting with our defense attorneys, we can start to develop an effective defense strategy. The best defense depends entirely on the unique aspects of your situation.
The Definition of Shoplifting in Georgia
Georgia defines shoplifting as “concealing or taking possession of goods or merchandise of any store or retail establishment” with the intent of appropriating said merchandise for your own use without paying, or to “deprive the owner of possession thereof.”
You can also be charged with shoplifting if you alter the price tag of goods or switch labels between different items. Finally, you may be charged with this offense if you “wrongfully cause the amount to be paid to be less than the merchant’s stated price for the merchandise.” This essentially includes any type of deception or trickery that might result in you paying less than the stated value of the item.
Penalties for Shoplifting in Georgia
The penalties for shoplifting depend on the value of the merchandise that was taken and the amount of times you have been charged with shoplifting in the past. For a first-time offender who has stolen less than $300 worth of merchandise, the charge will be a relatively minor misdemeanor.
There are a number of factors that might result in a felony charge:
- Stealing more than $300 worth of goods
- A fourth or subsequent shoplifting offense
- Stealing more than $100 of goods from multiple stores within one county
Defenses for Shoplifting
The most obvious defense to shoplifting is to claim that you simply did not realize what you were doing. You may have simply forgotten to pay. Note that intent is important here, and if you never intended to steal the items, you cannot be charged with shoplifting. You may also be able to avoid serious consequences if you were intoxicated at the time, since your mental state may have been compromised so much that it is difficult to prove intent. Finally, it may have been a case of mistaken identity. Perhaps the security guard simply grabbed the wrong person, and the real culprit got away.
Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today
If you have been searching the Georgia area for a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney, look no further than Lankford & Moore Law. We have helped numerous defendants fight for their rights in Georgia, and we can do the same for you. We understand that you may be a good person who simply made the wrong choice at the wrong time. With our help, you can avoid unnecessary legal consequences in an efficient manner. Reach out and book your consultation today.