Shoplifting is a criminal offense that can result in serious legal consequences in Georgia. Depending on the value of the merchandise stolen and the offender’s criminal history, a shoplifting charge can range from a misdemeanor to a felony.
Penalties for shoplifting in Georgia can include fines, community service, probation, and even jail time. It is important to understand the potential consequences of a shoplifting charge and the options available to mitigate the charges.
What Are Georgia’s Laws on Shoplifting?
In Georgia, shoplifting is considered a form of theft and is prosecuted as such. Depending on the value of the items stolen and the defendant’s criminal history, shoplifting can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. If the value of the goods taken is less than $500, it is considered a misdemeanor. However, if the value of the goods stolen is more than $500, it is considered a felony and can result in a prison sentence of between one and ten years.
In addition to criminal penalties, shoplifters in Georgia can also face civil penalties. If a shoplifter is caught, they can be sued by the store owner for losses and damages. The store owner may also be able to seek punitive damages from the shoplifter if the shoplifting was intentional.
Can You Contest a Shoplifting Charge in Georgia?
If you have been charged with shoplifting in Georgia, you may wonder if contesting the charge is possible. The answer is yes, it is possible to contest a shoplifting charge in Georgia.
There are several different defenses that can be used to contest a shoplifting charge in Georgia. These include lack of intent, mistake of fact, entrapment, and duress. To successfully contest a shoplifting charge in Georgia, you must prove that one of these defenses applies to your situation.
What to Do When Accused of Shoplifting in Georgia?
If you face shoplifting charges, it is important to understand your rights and what to do if you are accused of shoplifting in Georgia.
Do Not Sign Anything
If you are accused of shoplifting, you mustn’t sign any documents presented to you by store personnel or law enforcement. You have the right to remain silent, and you should exercise that right.
Contact an Attorney
It is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after being accused of shoplifting. An attorney can help you understand your rights and the legal process, as well as help you develop a defense strategy.
It is important to gather evidence to support your defense if you are accused of shoplifting. This might include witness statements, video surveillance, and other evidence proving your innocence.
Be Prepared for Court
If your case goes to court, it is important to be prepared. Make sure you have all the necessary documents, evidence, and witnesses ready to present to the judge. An experienced attorney can help you prepare for court.
If you are accused of shoplifting, it is important to take the accusation seriously. Gather evidence to support your defense, contact an attorney, and prepare for court if necessary. Taking these steps can help ensure that your rights are protected and that you have the best possible outcome.
If you are looking for a criminal defense attorney in Madison, GA, you can contact us at Hanks, Ballard & Barth. We offer legal defenses for various cases that you may be involved in. Get in touch with us to learn more about our services.