Atlanta Shoplifting Lawyer
Shoplifting can be more than just going through the door with an item that the person didn’t pay for. A person can change price tags, swap containers, or take something of higher value and put it in the box of something that is cheaper and try to pay for it that way. Simply altering and changing price tags are enough to bring a charge of shoplifting in Atlanta.
While this may seem like a minor offense, shoplifting charges can still carry jail time, a fine, and remain on your criminal record making it important to contact an Atlanta shoplifting lawyer. An attorney in Atlanta with experience defending theft cases will be able to look at the facts and evidence and help you build the strongest defense possible. Call today to schedule your consultation.
Elements of Shoplifting
The elements of the crime of shoplifting are:
- The intent to deprive the owner of possession.
- Not paying for the item.
- By doing one of the following: concealing or taking possession, alter or change price tag, transfer item from one container to another, or the person otherwise wrongfully causes the amount they pay to be less than the retail value of the item.
How is This Different From Larceny?
Georgia law does not use the term larceny, but larceny is considered to be the same as theft.
Most shoplifting cases are misdemeanors due to the fact that it is most common that the amount of items taken is just a few dollars. With that said, an Atlanta shoplifting attorney is necessary because misdemeanor offenses still carry a punishment of up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 fine. Most penalties in reality are far less than that for someone convicted of shoplifting for the first time in Atlanta.
However, the more times a person is convicted for shoplifting, the minimums that they face increase. With a second conviction, there is a minimum $500 fine; a third would carry a minimum of thirty days in jail; and a fourth misdemeanor shoplifting conviction has a mandatory sentencing of up to ten years and it is a felony.
Consequences For a Second Offense
If the person wasn’t convicted the first time around for shoplifting, it might be possible for their attorney to negotiate for a pre-trial diversion program for them if they are charged a second time. Second conviction changes the ramifications because there is the mandatory minimum of $500 in fines. As a result, it is important to contact an Atlanta theft attorney about how best to resolve the situation.
Shoplifting is determined by O.C.G.A 16-8-14. There are several subsections in that particular part of the Georgia code. There are different levels of shoplifting, and different flavors of shoplifting.
Benefit of An Atlanta Shoplifting Lawyer
Hiring a shoplifting lawyer in Atlanta gives someone charged with shoplifting the best opportunity to avoid a permanent criminal history that is the result of a conviction for shoplifting, whether it is misdemeanor or felony shoplifting. The lawyer can provide a person with legal counsel, and build the strongest defense possible for their particular case.
Hiring an attorney eases the burden of the court process; it drastically reduces the time they stay in court waiting to talk to the prosecutor. The attorney is able to do that for the client potentially without even the need for the client to attend the court. Finally, an attorney gives guidance on strategic decisions based on their years of experience with shoplifting cases in Atlanta.