If you face shoplifting charges, penalties can range from fines, community service, probation, and even jail time, depending on the value of the stolen merchandise. In addition to the criminal charges, the store owner may file a civil lawsuit against you for the losses and damages they incurred due to the theft. While shoplifting charges are taken very seriously in Georgia, it is possible to contest the charges. Several defenses can be used to contest a shoplifting charge successfully. A skilled criminal defense lawyer will review the charges brought against you, recommend the most effective defense strategy, and ensure that your legal rights are protected every step of the way.
What Is Considered Shoplifting in Georgia?
In Georgia, shoplifting – also referred to as “theft by shoplifting” – occurs when an individual takes merchandise or store property without paying. The following acts are considered shoplifting:
- Conceal or take control of a store’s property.
- Change the price tag on any inventory in the store.
- Move merchandise from one container to another.
- Move a price tag from a less expensive product to a more expensive item.
- Wrongfully causing the amount you pay for an item to be less than the store owner’s stated price.
What Are the Penalties for Shoplifting in Georgia?
The penalties you will face for a shoplifting charge will depend on the value of the stolen item. For example, if the item is worth $500 or less, it is considered a misdemeanor offense and may involve a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail. Repeat offenses come with harsher penalties, including mandatory fines and longer prison sentences. Shoplifting property valued at less than $500 with three or more prior convictions is considered a felony. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the penalties can include one to 10 years in prison, with the first year being mandatory.
If the value of the stolen property is more than $500, this is considered a felony offense, which means you could face steep fines and one to ten years in jail. The penalty will be at the court’s discretion. You may also face civil charges if the store owner seeks compensatory damages. Whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony shoplifting charges, it is recommended that you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Savannah Criminal Defense Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Clients Facing Shoplifting Charges
Contact our Savannah criminal defense lawyers at Kicklighter Law if you have been charged with shoplifting. We can review the charges brought against you, address all of your questions and concerns, and recommend the defense strategy. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients in Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.