Jarrett & Price, Criminal Defense AttorneysA conviction for theft by shoplifting in Georgia is a serious offense and its impact upon a person’s life will very likely reach further than the criminal consequences. A theft by shoplifting conviction carries with it a stigma that can limit employment opportunities now and in the future. If the person charged is an immigrant, the shoplifting charge carries with it serious potential immigration consequences.
Felony or Misdemeanor?
In 2012 the Georgia General Assembly modified the felony threshold and the punishment provisions for many crimes in Georgia with the passage of HB 1176, Georgia’s criminal justice reform bill. Until the passage of HB 1176, a person convicted of shoplifting would face felony charges if the value of the merchandise or property that was the subject of the charge was greater than $300. Under Georgia’s new shoplifting statute, a person will face felony charges if the value of the merchandise or property that is the subject of the charge is greater than $500. The penalties gradually get harsher with each subsequent conviction. On the fourth or subsequent conviction, the theft by shoplifting is punished as a felony, irrespective of the value of the property.
A person can be charged with felony shoplifting if the aggregate value of multiple thefts exceeds $500 in two different scenarios. First, if the property that is the subject of the shoplifting charge is taken from three separate stores or retail establishments within the same county and within the timeframe of seven days or less. Second, when the property the subject of the theft is taken during a period of 180 days (6 months).
Range of Punishment
A person convicted of felony shoplifting faces imprisonment of one to ten years. Misdemeanors are punished by a maximum of 12 months imprisonment and $1,000 fine.
Upon a second conviction for theft by shoplifting, the convicted person will be fined a minimum of $500. Upon a third conviction, of any combination of felonies and misdemeanors, in addition to any fine imposed, the person will be punished by at least 30 days imprisonment, which is not subject to suspension, probation, stay, or withholding. Upon a third conviction, the person may also be required to undergo psychological evaluation and treatment. Upon a fourth or subsequent conviction, the person will be punished for committing a felony and will face a minimum of one year and a maximum of ten years imprisonment, the first year of such sentence shall not be stayed, probated, suspended, or withheld.
The attorneys at Jarrett & Price have represented numerous clients charged with shoplifting in Savannah Georgia and the surrounding communities. If the charge is a person’s first charge, the case may be resolved without a conviction being entered through a negotiation with the State’s attorney. If the State’s evidence is weak, our attorneys have the trial experience to hold the State to its burden of proof and work toward an acquittal if possible. In any scenario with these charges, we can guid you through the process and offer you counsel based on real experience.
It is important to be represented by experienced attorneys if you are charged with theft by shoplifting in Georgia. The criminal defense attorneys at The Jarrett Firm, LLC understand the consequences and the potential defenses to a theft by shoplifting charge and have the necessary skill to provide you with a strong defense. Give us a call to speak with our attorneys at 912.401.8880 or leave an inquiry in the “Contact Us” form below. We look forward to serving you.