Shoplifting may be a crime commonly charged in Gwinnett County, but that does not mean it should be taken lightly. Since shoplifting costs millions of dollars in losses to companies and those companies pass the losses on to consumers in the form of price hikes, law enforcement officials are increasingly strict when it comes to shoplifting offenses.
The consequences can cause long-term complications as criminal records and arrest records are visible to everyone with access to the internet. In addition to the potential for a term of imprisonment and the imposition of a heavy fine, those facing charges are likely to encounter difficulties obtaining housing, finding employment, getting a loan, or even maintaining personal relationships.
If you are facing shoplifting charges, should consider talking to an organized attorney so that they understand the potential ramifications and can learn about options for fighting the charges. Contact a Gwinnett County shoplifting lawyer to learn more.Shoplifting Law in Gwinnett County
Lawmakers in Georgia were so concerned about this offense they enacted legislation specifically designed to address shoplifting offenses. Section 16-8-14 of the Georgia criminal code defines theft by shoplifting as occurring in five situations.
- The first example of shoplifting is a situation in which an individual hides or simply takes merchandise from a store. The second example occurs when someone changes the price tag or otherwise alters the price displayed on merchandise
- The third shoplifting situation defined in the law occurs when a person transfers merchandise from one container to another
- An individual commits shoplifting under the fourth example when that person exchanges the label or price tag from one piece of merchandise with the tag from another piece of merchandise
- And the fifth instance under the statute occurs when a person uses any other wrongful means to pay less for merchandise than the price stated by the merchant.
Speak with a Gwinnett County shoplifting lawyer to learn more.Penalties for Shoplifting
As with many theft crimes, the penalties for criminal shoplifting are determined in part by the value of the merchandise wrongfully appropriated. If the property which is the subject of the theft is worth $500 or less and the individual charged has no prior convictions for shoplifting, the offense is generally a misdemeanor. The offense, in this case, may be penalized by up to one year of imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000. For a second shoplifting offense the law imposes a minimum fine and for a third or subsequent shoplifting offense, a minimum period of incarceration is also imposed.
Where the value of a property at issue is more than $500 or where an individual has shoplifted property from 3 separate stores in the same county during one week or less where the aggregate value exceeds $500. Those facing felony shoplifting charges face between one and ten years of imprisonment. The court may also fine them and require them to pay compensatory damages to the merchant. A person should speak with a Gwinnett County shoplifting lawyer if they are facing potential penalties for shoplifting.Get Help from a Gwinnett County Shoplifting Attorney Today
In addition to using defensive strategies to fight a shoplifting charge, in many cases, there are other options to avoid criminal prosecution and the creation of a criminal record.
For example, some of those facing charges may be able to use Georgia’s pretrial intervention and diversion plans to have criminal charges dropped by undertaking community service and making restitution for damages.
An experienced Gwinnett County shoplifting lawyer who has seen how local courts apply the laws in a variety of different circumstances can explain the options and make recommendations about the best course of action based on your unique situation.
If you are facing shoplifting charges, you do not need to stand alone. Contact a lawyer for a free consultation to learn how they can help.