Although it may seem like a minor offense, shoplifting charges in Atlanta can still carry a number of serious penalties that have the potential to negatively impact a person for the rest of their life. With this said, it is important anyone accused of shoplifting consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. An experienced shoplifting attorney can use their knowledge of Atlanta as well as their experience in previous cases to help a person build a strong defense.Range of Penalties
In the City of Atlanta, a potential for diversion in the City of Atlanta Municipal Court or State court of Fulton county is the low end of punishment. The high end of punishment can be up to twelve months in jail and a $1,000 fine. These penalties are the same in the Fulton County State Court. In Superior Court, the penalty is years in prison, but generally shoplifting is a probation case in all jurisdictions.
However, shoplifting can also be considered a felony. A person would be charged with a felony for shoplifting if the value of the item or items taken is over $500 or if it is the person’s fourth offense for shoplifting. A felony conviction on a person’s record can have a very negative impact on their life and on their future.
Notably, with a strong defense, a shoplifting offense may be subject to diversion provided on the person’s record, or some sort of alternative disposition in which a person completes something and the state dismisses the charge against them.Second Time Offense
In the case of a second offense, the penalties get ratcheted up and the chances of getting the case dismissed is significantly less. The prosecutors look at the person as a habitual problem since it would be the person’s second time being charged with shoplifting.Probation or Reduced Sentencing Options
Most jurisdictions offer some sort of diversion for a first-time shoplifter. However, it is discretionary with the state to try to put the person in the program.
Due to this fact, it is important to have an experienced lawyer on the defense’s side to build a robust defense and breakdown the prosecution’s case. Additionally, the lawyer can try to show that the defendant is worthy of having the case dismissed or that there are some extenuating circumstances in their life that might explain why this particular situation took place.Role of an Attorney
An attorney can provide insight into why the person shoplifted, negotiate a payment plan to get the money paid back, negotiate with the prosecutor, and negotiate with the store. A lawyer can try to get the case dismissed by providing evidence and mitigation on the client’s behalf. Also, the lawyer can provide a defense to show that the shoplifting did not take place or the person did not have the intent to do it.
For this reason, a person should contact a seasoned Atlanta attorney immediately upon either being arrested or being contacted by a detective.