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Cobb County Criminal Defense Lawyer / Blog / Shoplifting / I Am Facing Georgia Shoplifting Charges – What Does that Mean?

I Am Facing Georgia Shoplifting Charges – What Does that Mean?


When people think about shoplifting, they often imagine someone taking an item and slipping it into a bag or a pocket before leaving without paying. While it’s true that this is a good example of shoplifting, it is not the only form that this offense can take.

What is Shoplifting? 

In Georgia, a person can be convicted of shoplifting when prosecutors can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused intended to take merchandise without paying for it by:

  • Concealing or taking possession of merchandise in a store or retail establishment;
  • Altering the price tag or other price marking on merchandise;
  • Transferring the merchandise from one container to another;
  • Interchanging the price tag or label from one item to another; or
  • Causing the amount to be paid to be less than the stated price.

Because so many different kinds of actions can fall under the category, it is especially important for those who have been accused of shoplifting to reach out to an experienced attorney who can walk them through the ins and outs of such a charge.

What are the Penalties for a Misdemeanor Shoplifting Conviction? 

The penalties for shoplifting in Georgia vary depending on the value of the merchandise that was allegedly taken and the defendant’s prior criminal record. For example, those who are accused of shoplifting an item valued at less than $500 can be charged with a misdemeanor and be required to pay a $1,000 fine and spend up to a year in jail. This, however, is for a first offense. A second and third offense for items of less than $500, while still considered misdemeanors, will result in more significant penalties. A second offense, for example, comes with a minimum $500 fine and possible imprisonment of up to a year, while a third offense could result in at least 30 days in prison. A fourth offense, even of an item valued at less than $500 will likely lead to a felony charge and a lengthy prison sentence.

What are the Penalties for a Felony Shoplifting Conviction? 

Not all shoplifting offenses are charged as misdemeanors. Those who are accused of taking property that exceeds $500 in value, for instance, can be charged with a felony and if convicted, face at least a year and up to ten years in prison. In Georgia, a person can also be charged with felony shoplifting when the property in question was taken from three separate stores, all of which were located in the same county, during a period of seven days or less, and the aggregate value of the property exceeded $500. Even when the property was taken during a six month period, if its aggregate value exceeds $500, its theft can still result in a felony charge and imprisonment for at least a year.

Our Legal Team is Here to Help You Build a Strong Defense 

Just because a person is accused of shoplifting does not mean that he or she has to take those accusations lying down. To learn more about the arguments that you can raise in your own defense when accused of shoplifting, please call experienced Cobb County shoplifting lawyer Andrew L. Schwartz, P.C. at 678-853-2500 today.




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