Shoplifting might sound like a petty crime, but the consequences in Georgia can be severe, especially if this is not your first offense. To protect your rights, you should meet with a Georgia criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible for a free consultation.
Generally, shoplifting consists of taking merchandise without paying for it. You can commit shoplifting in a variety of ways, including:
• Concealing or taking possession of goods without paying
• Changing the price tag on goods
• Transferring goods from one container to another
• Switching the label or price tag from one item to another
• Wrongfully causing the amount you pay to be less than the stated price
Shoplifting is a serious crime, but your punishment will depend on the value of the merchandise you stole, as well as the number of offenses you have committed:
• If you shoplift goods valued at $300 or less, then you will be punished with a misdemeanor.
• If you commit a second offense, you will be fined at least $250.
• If you commit a third offense, you will face time in prison, boot camp, or house arrest.
• If you commit a fourth offense, you have committed a felony and will serve 1-10 years in prison.
If you shoplift goods worth more than $300, the punishment is more severe. You will be charged with a felony and can face 1 to 10 years in jail even if it is your first offense. Furthermore, if you steal goods from three or more different stores within a week—and if the stolen goods are worth more than $100 in total—then you can face a felony charge and 1-10 years in jail.
Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction
If convicted, you not only face potential jail time, but your life can be seriously upended. There are many negative consequences that flow from a criminal conviction which can make it very hard for you to get back on your feet. Consider some of the following:
• It might be harder to get a job. More and more employers are pulling criminal background checks before hiring employees. If an employer sees your shoplifting conviction, they might decide not to hire you.
• It can be harder to get an apartment. Like employers, landlords regularly pull background checks on applicants. If they see that you have been convicted of shoplifting, they might not rent the apartment to you.
• You might not get child custody. A judge decides child custody disputes based on the best interests of your child. One factor a judge looks at is your criminal history. Convictions for shoplifting can make you appear as an unfit parent.
These are only some of the negative consequences of a criminal conviction. To understand how a conviction might impact you, meet with a criminal defense attorney.
Contact an Alpharetta Criminal Defense Lawyer Now
At Mitnick & Associates, we have represented countless defendants in theft crimes. We are experienced pinpointing weaknesses in the state’s case and achieving the most favorable result possible for our clients. Reach out to us today for a free consultation by calling 770-408-7000 or filling out this contact sheet. Also serving Roswell, Cumming, Johns Creek, and Milton.
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