Shoplifting Charges in Georgia

Learn about the laws, penalties and civil consequences of a shoplifting charge in Georgia. Find out if you can avoid a conviction and criminal record.

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Shoplifters in Georgia 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 

Charge

Classification

Penalty

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 jail

Civil Penalties

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.

Learn more about diversion and pretrial options.

Getting Help

If you have been accused of shoplifting in Georgia, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can. Experienced criminal defense attorneys can help plan your defense, negotiate a plea bargain, and explore other avenues to reduce the potential consequences of shoplifting charges.

by: , Attorney

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