Understanding the Punishments for Shoplifting in Georgia
If you’ve been charged with shoplifting, you may be surprised to learn that even common shoplifting violations can result in felony charges. Under Georgia law, a person will be charged with felony shoplifting charges if the stolen item or items’ combined value is just $300 or more. In fact, you can even be arrested for shoplifting without ever leaving the store, if loss prevention employees think they saw you try to conceal merchandize under your clothes or inside a bag.
Practically speaking, this means some people are arrested for shoplifting simply for going about their business in a store. A felony shoplifting conviction can result in serious fines, which are left up to the discretion of the court. Plus, a felony conviction can result in one to 10 years in jail, with a mandatory sentence of one year minimum. Even a first time misdemeanor shoplifting charge can result in fines of up to $1,000 and one year in jail.
While some people hope that punishments for first offense shoplifting will be less severe, that is not always the case. In fact, depending on the value of the item in question, a first time offender could receive much harsher consequences than even some repeat offenders. If that’s not enough, convicted shoplifters may also face civil fines, which means the merchant can collect damages from the defendant.
The legal process may move slowly after you’ve been arrested, but that doesn’t mean you can wait to start protecting yourself. If you or a family member has been arrested for a shoplifting offense, call us at 678-324-8511 or click here to discuss the particulars of your case by scheduling an initial consultation. You deserve to go through this ordeal with a committed defense attorney on your team.