Stealing, concealing an item, or taking it outside the store within the city confines of Atlanta constitutes shoplifting. The difference between shoplifting and theft is that the alleged crime took place in a store or some sort of retail environment.
A common misconception of shoplifting is that a person has to walk out of the store with the item but this is not the case. Simply putting an item in a purse or a pocket, or concealing it in some way can be considered shoplifting. The state still has to prove that the person intended to walk outside the store, however, they can use what is called circumstantial evidence to try and prove that.
If the value of the item is less than $500, it is a misdemeanor. If it is more than $500, it is a felony. A fourth conviction is prosecuted and punished as a felony. A misdemeanor shoplifting penalty is up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine but an Atlanta shoplifting defense attorney can help. En Español.
Diversionary & Pre-Trial Programs
Shoplifting is considered a crime of moral turpitude, so it can have long-lasting consequences such as problems getting future employment. Employers may believe that it reflects negatively that a person is stealing. An Atlanta shoplifting lawyer may be able to help you avoid these problems by getting the case resolved to pretrial diversion. This means the charges would be dismissed following counseling, treatment, and/or community service.
Also, a lawyer can make sure that restitution is made prior to trial. This can oftentimes mitigate the offense or charges brought forward.
The goal of all attorneys’ defense strategies is to try and figure out some way to get the case dismissed. Oftentimes, the Atlanta shoplifting attorney might be able to show that their defendant has no prior record. Another mitigating factor they may bring up is if they were able to show that the person was undergoing some psychological counseling or treatment for anxiety or depression. Often, a shoplifting attorney in Atlanta can get the charge dismissed in the Municipal Court of Atlanta or one of the other local jurisdictions before moving the case to the state court.
How an Attorney Can Help
The best thing a lawyer in Atlanta can do is to try and understand why the defendant did it. This way they can get the defendant help in the form of treatment or counseling, as well as encourage payment of restitution in order for the prosecuting establishment to look more favorably on the individual. Ultimately, your attorney will try to figure out a way to get the case dismissed because it could have a real harmful effect on the person’s ability to get employment later on.
After your initial consultation with the Atlanta shoplifting lawyer, they will likely want to make sure that you start doing some community service and enroll in counseling. Additionally, they may start negotiations with the prosecutor to try and get the case dismissed.