Being charged with shoplifting in Georgia might not sound serious on the surface. However, it is important to know that shoplifting is classified as theft and there are various penalties, depending on the value of what was taken. Understanding what constitutes shoplifting is imperative when planning a defense. A law firm that helps people confronted with theft charges is also critical.
There are different penalties depending on the number of times a person has been convicted and the value of the items taken. When the value of the item taken is $500 or less, the charge will be a misdemeanor. If the person is facing a second offense of shoplifting with the first having been a felony or misdemeanor, there will be a fine of at least $500.
When a person is facing a third offense, there will be a prison sentence of at least 30 days or a boot camp incarceration, a probation detention center, a diversion center or other facility for 120 days. Psychological treatment can be ordered, and the defendant will need to pay for it. There can be no suspension or probation. When there is a fourth offense, it will be a felony and the penalty will be one to 10 years in jail with the first year not subject to suspension, probation, deferment or withholding.
Shoplifting allegations can stem from a variety of circumstances. It might have been a mistake where the person unknowingly committed the act. A teen could have been doing something as a prank or youthful error and gotten arrested. Or, the person may have done something they should not have. No matter what, it is important to understand the law, the possible penalties and how to formulate a defense. A law firm that has experience in shoplifting charges and other areas of theft should be called for help immediately.