When it comes to the crime of shoplifting, laws vary by state, with some acknowledging the crime as a misdemeanor, while others label it a felony. In Georgia, however, shoplifting can be classified as both. As stated by LegalMatch, theft by shoplifting in Georgia occurs when a person (acting alone or with others) takes merchandise without paying for it, and with the intent to deprive the owner of the value of the item, or to appropriate the item for his or her own use. With this in mind, is shoplifting the same as theft by taking?
In a word, the answer is no. In Georgia, theft by taking happens when an individual takes property from another individual. They do not intend to give the property back, so as to permanently deprive the owner of it. To be clear, theft by taking usually includes a person’s personal property. In turn, shoplifting specifically involves taking merchandise without paying for it.
Even so, there’s more to the act of shoplifting. For instance, it includes taking or concealing merchandise from a store, as well as altering the price of a product or item to show a different price. Additionally, shoplifting is classified as exchanging or switching labels from one item to another, so as to affect the price or how the item is handled.
Given the differences between shoplifting and theft by taking, perhaps you’re wondering what the penalty is for a first offense in Georgia. In short, when a person is convicted of theft by shoplifting for the first time, the value of the merchandise must be considered. The crime is considered a first misdemeanor theft by shoplifting offense if the value is $500 or less. In effect, the individual is typically given a fine and/or up to 12 months in jail. Without question, subsequent convictions of the same offense will be met with added penalties and perhaps a psychological evaluation.
Do I Need A Lawyer For A First-Time Shoplifting Offense?
Have you been caught shoplifting? You should know—even if it’s a first time offense, a criminal conviction may result in severe penalties in Georgia.
With more than 20 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney, M. Qader A. Baig understands the magnitude of a shoplifting accusation, and works tirelessly to help individuals avoid a conviction whenever possible. To speak with Mr. Baig in a private, confidential consultation, call the Conyers office of M. Qader A. Baig & Associates, LLC, today.