In Coweta County, there are dozens and dozens of shoplifting arrests every single year. Some of these cases are prosecuted in the municipal courts, like Newnan Municipal Court or Grantville Municipal Court. Others are prosecuted on the county level, whether it be in Coweta State Court or even in some cases in Coweta Superior Court.
Shoplifting can range in severity to a city ordinance violation to a felony charge. In addition, because shoplifting requires the act of stealing it is considered a crime of moral turpitude and can have a substantial negative impact on your immigration status.
What does it Mean to Shoplift in Georgia?
Georgia Law - O.C.G.A. § 16-8-14
A person commits the offense of theft by shoplifting when such person alone or in concert with another person, with the intent of appropriating merchandise to his or her own use without paying for the same or to deprive the owner of possession thereof or of the value thereof, in whole or in part, does any of the following:
So, What does that Mean?
Shoplifting can be committed in five different ways. The first is the most common and what you likely think of when you think of shoplifting. It requires that someone takes possession of or hide things from a store intending to take it from the owner. It is important to note here that it is not required that you actually make it out of the store.
The second scenario involves altering a price tag. Perhaps putting a discount sticker on the item and then checking out, or something like that.
Third, if you move merchandise from one container to another. For instance, if you put expensive shoes into a shoebox that was holding cheap shoes and then check out for the cheaper price, then you could be charged with shoplifting.
The next way to commit shoplifting is to switch price tags on merchandise. So, for instance, if you attach a price tag for a cheaper item onto the item for which you would like to buy and then pay the reduced price you could be charged with shoplifting.
Finally, the Georgia statute has sort of a "catch-all" clause that states anyone can be charged with shoplifting if they "wrongfully cause the amount to be paid less than the merchant's stated price for the merchandise." Essentially if you get a lower price by some "wrong" action then you can be charged.
Penalties for Shoplifting in Georgia
Generally, if the value of the property taken was $500 or less then the accused is only facing misdemeanor charges. Upon a second conviction, however, the minimum fine is $500.
If someone is convicted of shoplifting for the third time, then the accused is facing some sort of more serious punishment. It may be time in jail, time in the probation detention center, or on house arrest.
Upon a fourth conviction, the accused faces a minimum of one year in prison.
If you have been charged with theft by shoplifting gives us a call today and let us get started working on your defense. Contact Us.