Though shoplifting, a theft offense that involves taking something of value from a retail establishment without paying for it, is sometimes considered a minor crime that warrants a slap on the wrist. However, it can sometimes incur more serious consequences. A conviction could create a criminal record that may negatively impact a person’s educational and employment opportunities. These consequences can extend far beyond whatever minor punishment a court may levy for this crime, which is why a person accused of shoplifting may benefit from legal representation.
If you are facing charges of this nature, reach out to a DeKalb County shoplifting lawyer as soon as possible. A qualified attorney could examine the facts of your case and ensure that your rights are protected throughout any legal proceedings.
There are several ways an individual can be charged with shoplifting. The nature of the charges depends on the person’s intent when they attempted to steal merchandise, the value of the stolen items, and how they completed the action. Any of the following examples would constitute shoplifting under Georgia law, such as:
Security guards and store employees are trained to pick out suspicious behavior and will zero in on someone who is acting unusual or attempting to leave a store without paying for an item. In these cases, they will typically call the police and attempt to have them cited or even arrested if they leave the last point of sale. It may be wise to get immediate legal representation if a person is accused of shoplifting in this manner, and a local lawyer could communicate with the police or other authority on their behalf.
Shoplifting has its own statutory treatment and is treated as a misdemeanor in most cases. There are a range of other forms of theft under Georgia law that are separate from shoplifting, such as theft by deception, theft by conversion, and theft by receiving stolen property.
While shoplifting alone is a misdemeanor, subsequent additional convictions for shoplifting can lead to felony charges. A third conviction for shoplifting, even for a small amount of little value, can sentence a defendant to a minimum of 30 days confinement regardless of whether their offense was misdemeanor or felony shoplifting.
A fourth conviction for shoplifting is a felony no matter the nature of the prior charges or the value of the items taken and can result in a sentence of up to 10 years of incarceration. If an individual shoplifts property whose value exceeds $300.00, they will also be charged with a felony and could face up to 10 years. Since these charges can easily be enhanced in some circumstances, it could be crucial for an accused individual to have a shoplifting attorney in the area help them craft a strong defense.
Shoplifting charges can be more serious than they would seem at first glance, and if you do not have a comprehensive defense, you could end up facing a criminal record and severe penalties, including jail time. It may be critical to have a legal advocate who could fight for your rights throughout this stressful process. If you have been charged with this offense, call a DeKalb County shoplifting attorney today and set up a consultation where you can further discuss your options.