What if I am charged with theft by shoplifting in Georgia?

While it might not be viewed in the same context as auto theft, burglary and other charges related to stealing in Georgia, shoplifting can have significant consequences if a person is arrested and convicted. This is a major concern for anyone, but it is particularly worrisome for parents of juveniles who might have taken part in shoplifting for a variety of reasons and are now dealing with charges of theft and damage to their future. Understanding the law for shoplifting and seeking legal advice is critical after an arrest.

If a person takes property belonging to another without permission or without paying for it, it is theft. Shoplifting happens when someone individually or with the assistance of another intends to take merchandise to use and does not pay for it. The following will be considered shoplifting: concealing or taking possession of items or property from a retail establishment or store; changing a price tag or other markings that denote price in a retail establishment or store; transferring the items from one container to a separate container; interchanging labels or price tags from one item to another; or causing the amount that is paid to be less than the intended amount from the retailer.

Shoplifting will be a misdemeanor if the property was valued at $500 or less. The penalties can be up to one year incarceration and a fine. If the property was valued at a minimum of $500 or it was stolen from three different retailers in the same county over three days and was worth a minimum of $100, it will be a felony. It will also be a felony if a person stole a vehicle worth at least $100; stole from a gravesite; stole anhydrous ammonia; stole a weapon, a destructive device or explosive; stole via telemarketing or computer; or breached a fiduciary relationship. A conviction will result in one to 10 years in jail and a fine.

Being arrested for shoplifting can have long-term consequences on a person's life. It is vital to formulate a strong defense against these allegations. There are many situations where there is a logical explanation for a person who is accused of shoplifting. Even if there was wrongdoing taking place, it is still imperative to craft a defense. Perhaps the charges can be reduced or a person can pay for the items. This is especially important for juveniles. Having legal assistance from a law firm that helps those charged with theft when shoplifting is crucial.

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