In Georgia, theft is often considered a serious crime. However, it is an umbrella term that many different actions and types of theft fall under. For example, shoplifting is a type of theft. While it is often classified as a misdemeanor, this is not always the case.
In some cases, your shoplifting charge may actually count as a felony. But when does this happen, and what are the potential differences in penalties?
Shoplifting charge elevates to felony
Georgia state law defines theft by shoplifting in several ways. In Georgia, a shoplifting offense gets categorized as a misdemeanor if it resulted in less than $300 stolen in merchandise, goods, etc.
Thus, shoplifting ends up categorized as a felony if the sum of the stolen items added up to more than $300. You can also get a felony charge if you stole from three separate stores within the same county in seven days. Each individual theft must have a total worth of $100 or more.
Penalties for felony shoplifting
As far as penalties go, they get more severe as your count of shoplifting goes up. If you have shoplifted two times, you face a fine of $250 and potential imprisonment. For a third offense, you must serve up to 30 days of imprisonment or 120 days of an alternative confinement, like home detention. The court may also order you to pay for treatment or psychological evaluation at your expense.
For a fourth count, you face a minimum of 1 year imprisoned and a maximum of 10 years. The first year is non-suspendable. As you can tell, these are serious consequences for the convictions. As such, you should take the charges seriously.