Dunwoody Shoplifting Lawyer
A shoplifting offense may seem like a minor crime and something that would be punished by a slap on the wrist, but the truth is that shoplifting is a serious crime, and one that can result in serious ramifications that can follow a convicted offender for the remainder of their life. Shoplifting is a form of theft, and businesses often ask for the harshest punishments prosecutors are willing to pursue. Depending on the value of the property you have been accused of taking or attempting to take, you could be facing a felony offense, which carries a prison sentence of up to ten years. A Dunwoody shoplifting lawyer here at Hawkins Spizman can help you avoid this type of punishment and retain your good name by crafting a strong defense.
Penalties for Shoplifting in Georgia
Georgia has some of the strictest shoplifting penalties in the country. You could be facing multiple years behind bars if you are found guilty of shoplifting, even if the property in question is of relatively low value. As per § 16-8-14, there are three main categories of shoplifting offenses:
- Misdemeanor Shoplifting Under $500—Shoplifting property valued at $500 or less. The penalties include fines and up to 12 months in jail.
- Felony Shoplifting Over $500—Shoplifting property valued over $500. The penalties for this felony include fines and prison time between one and ten years.
- Felony Shoplifting From Three or More Stores—Shoplifting property valued $500 from three stores in the same county, within seven days. The penalties for this felony also include fines and prison time between one and ten years.
In addition to criminal charges and fines, the store owner can pursue civil damages, ordering the defendant to pay for the property they allegedly took, plus triple the cost of said property as punitive damages. If the defendant loses this civil lawsuit yet fails to pay, the store owner can seek even more money from the alleged shoplifter.
Multiple Shoplifting Convictions Can Result in Mandatory Jail Time
Shoplifting becomes an even more serious offense if you have been convicted of it before. A second offense can result in an extra fine, while third and fourth offenses require mandatory time behind bars.
- Second misdemeanor or felony shoplifting conviction, or a combination of the two—$250 extra in fines.
- Third misdemeanor or felony conviction (or combination of any kind)—Mandatory 30 days in jail or 120 days on house arrest. In addition, the defendant must pay for psychological evaluation and treatment.
- Fourth shoplifting conviction—Mandatory one-year prison sentence. Even if all three prior shoplifting convictions were misdemeanors, this fourth conviction will be classified as a felony. As such, it is possible to become a felon in the state of Georgia for stealing a handful of candy bars, for example.
Contact a Dunwoody Shoplifting Lawyer Today
Shoplifting has been on the rise in recent years, ever since the Pandemic, according to CNN. Prosecutors are keen on cracking down on alleged shoplifters, and it is up to you to defend your rights if you have been accused of taking an item from a store. Call a Dunwoody shoplifting lawyer at Hawkins Spizman today at 770-685-6400 to schedule a free consultation.