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In Georgia, shoplifting is classified as a type of theft in which a person takes retail merchandise from a retail establishment with the intent of taking the good(s) without purchasing them. The act of taking retail merchandise can occur in a number of ways, including:

  • a) Concealing or taking the good;
  • b) Altering the price tag of the good;
  • c) Transferring the goods or merchandise of any store or retail establishment from one container to another;
  • d) Interchanging the label or price tag from one good to another; and
  • e) Wrongfully causing the amount paid to be less than the merchant's stated price for the merchandise.

This list is not exhaustive, and activity which involves the intent to take, cheat, or defraud a merchant may lead to a charge of shoplifting.

The punishment scheme outlined for shoplifting offenses varies according to a number of factors. First, like other theft crimes, the value of the item(s) in question can impact whether a person is charged with a misdemeanor or felony. Under Georgia law, property valued at $300.00 or less is charged as a misdemeanor and property valued over $300.00 constitutes a felony. Second, the number of times a person has been convicted for shoplifting will impact the severity of the sentence. Third, if a person is considered to be a habitual offender (in that they have committed this same offense for more than four times), they may be subject to no less than one year imprisonment.

As with any criminal charge, it is important to discuss the charge with an attorney to go over any defenses and your rights at trial. If you would like to discuss a shoplifting or other charge with one of our criminal defense attorneys, call 770-461-2025 to schedule an appointment.

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