filed under: Atlanta Criminal Defense Shopplifing Laws
Shoplifters in Atlanta face serious criminal penalties, including jail time and fines. In addition, shoplifters can be sued for damages in civil court by victimized merchants.
Shoplifting in Georgia
Shoplifting in Georgia is defined as performing certain actions with the intent of taking merchandise without paying for it or depriving the owner of possession of the merchandise or its value. Actions that constitute shoplifting when paired with such intent include concealing or taking possession of merchandise, altering price tags, switching price tags or labels, transferring merchandise from one container to another, or wrongfully causing the amount paid to be less than the merchant’s price.
Shoplifting in Georgia may be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on details such as the value of the items stolen, as well as any aggravating circumstances of the crime. Shoplifters not only face criminal sentencing including jail time and fines, but are also civilly liable to merchants for damages.
Georgia Shoplifting Penalties
|Shoplifting property with a total combined value of $300 or less||Misdemeanor||Fines up to $1000; up to one year in jail|
|Shoplifting property with a total combined value of less than $300, when the individual has previously been convicted of one shoplifting offense (either misdemeanor or felony level)||Misdemeanor||Mandatory minimum fine of $250, up to $1,000; up to one year in jail|
|Shoplifting property with a total combined value of $300 or less, when the individual has previously been convicted of two shoplifting offenses (either misdemeanor or felony level)||Misdemeanor||Fines up to $1,000; mandatory minimum of 30 days of imprisonment, up to one year, or 120 days confinement in a community correctional facility or house arrest, possible psychological evaluation and treatment|
|Shoplifting property with a total combined value of $300 or less, when the individual has previously been convicted of three or more shoplifting offenses (either misdemeanor or felony level)||Felony||Fines at court discretion; between one and ten years in jail, with first year mandatory|
|Shoplifting property with a total combined value of more than $300||Felony||Fines at court discretion; between one and ten years in jail|
|Shoplifting property from three separate stores within one county during a period of seven days or less, and property from each store exceeds $100 in value||Felony||Fines at court discretion; between one and ten years in ja|
Victimized merchants can sue shoplifters in civil court. Merchants are entitled to:
Compensatory damages equaling the value of the property and any other loss; and
if the value of the total claim is less than $5,000, under certain conditions the owner may also recover liquidated damages equal to $150 or twice the amount of the entire loss sustained, whichever is greater, and the cost of maintaining the lawsuit.
Plea Bargains and Pretrial Intervention and Diversion Programs
These accused of first-time and low-level crimes may be able to take advantage of Georgia’s pretrial intervention and diversion programs, which allow for the avoidance of criminal prosecution. If certain court requirements are completed, such as restitution and community service, the criminal charges will be dropped.
If diversion programs are unavailable, the accused may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor for reduced charges and sentencing, in exchange for a guilty plea.
If you or someone you know has been arrested in Georgia for shoplifting, contact us ASAP so we can get you the representation you deserve.