Shoplifting is no minor crime in Georgia. Our Atlanta criminal defense attorneys explain the consequences you could face.
Shoplifting is often viewed as a relatively minor criminal offense. In fact, it is one of the most common types of theft crimes. Businesses go to great lengths to apprehend offenders, and once they do, police and prosecutors work hard to make shoplifting charges stick. Our Atlanta criminal defense attorneys explain some of the serious consequences you could be facing if convicted.
Criminal Charges for Shoplifting in Georgia
People engage in shoplifting for a variety of reasons. Young people often do it as part of a dare, to flout authority, or to fit in among friends. Otherwise-law-abiding adults may feel the compulsion to shoplift or be addicted to the thrill of trying to avoid detection. In some cases, it is motivated by money or a lack thereof. Regardless of why people engage in shoplifting, it is important to be aware of the potential ramifications.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, shoplifting results in major financial losses, both for business owners and the general public. It costs stores an average of over $700,000 per $1 billion in sales and results in increased consumer prices. It is one of the most common types of retail theft and has steadily increased over the years. As a result, businesses are making a concerted effort to apprehend offenders.
Under Section 16-8-14 of the Georgia Code, theft by shoplifting can be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony crime. Actions that could result in shoplifting charges include:
Concealing or illegally taking possession of store or retail items;
Attempting to switch or alter price tags;
Transferring store goods or merchandise from one container to another;
Wrongfully causing the price paid to be less than what the merchant charges.
Penalties for Shoplifting in Georgia
If you are charged with shoplifting through the Fulton County Criminal Court or in other jurisdictions throughout the state, you could be facing serious criminal penalties. These generally vary based on both the value of the items stolen and whether you have any prior convictions. They include:
If the value of the merchandise totals less than $500: A $500 fine and up to six months in jail;
If the property totals less than $1,500: Fines up to $1,000 and 12 months in jail;
If the property totals between $1,500 and $5,000: Fines and up to five years in prison;
Values over $5,000: Up to 20 years imprisonment, depending on the value of items stolen and any prior offenses.
Even relatively minor shoplifting charges will result in a criminal record as well. This could prevent you from obtaining housing, jobs, or an education in the future.
Get Our Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyers on Your Side
If you are facing shoplifting charges in Georgia, get Ghanayem & Rayasam on your side. We take the legal actions needed to help you avoid a criminal conviction. To request a confidential consultation with our Atlanta criminal defense attorneys, call or contact us online today.