In Georgia, shoplifting is a serious offense. In fact, depending on the circumstances of the case, a shoplifting conviction can have significant implications. Shoplifting crimes include any event in which merchandise is taken from a store without an exchange of payment, detection devices are removed, or price tags are changed or altered. Any purposeful attempt at shoplifting in which a person is caught before they are successful can also be charged as shoplifting.
If you are facing shoplifting charges in Georgia, it’s essential to seek legal counsel from a skilled shoplifting lawyer. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to examine all the factors surrounding your case and develop a strong defense to minimize potential consequences. Here is some essential information to know about shoplifting in Covington, Georgia.
What to Know About Shoplifting Charges in Covington, Georgia
In Georgia, shoplifting is classified as a theft crime. This means that if you are convicted of shoplifting, you could face significant consequences such as jail time and expensive fines and fees. Theft crimes are considered crimes of “moral turpitude,” because they involve fraud, deceit, or dishonesty. There are a variety of actions that can be classified as shoplifting crimes:
- Conceals or takes possession of the goods or merchandise of any store or retail establishment
- Alters the price tag or other price marking on goods or merchandise of any store or retail establishment
- Transfers the goods or merchandise of any store or retail establishment from one container to another
- Interchanges the label or price tag from one item of merchandise with a label or price tag for another item of merchandise
- Wrongfully causes the amount paid to be less than the merchant’s stated price for the merchandise
The consequences you may face from any of these actions will depend on a variety of factors, such as the value of the merchandise involved. Even if a shoplifting charge is classified as a misdemeanor, it can include long-term consequences. Some of the potential consequences of a shoplifting conviction include:
- Jail time
- Fines and fees
- Court-ordered community service hours
- Permanent criminal record
- Change to immigration status or deportation
In general, shoplifting that involves property with a total value of $500 or less is classified as a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a one-year jail sentence. Typically, shoplifting that involves property with a total value greater than $500 is classified as a felony with fines set by the court’s discretion and 1 year to ten-year jail sentence. It is essential to note that repeat offenses typically involve harsher penalties.
Common Defenses to Shoplifting Cases in Covington
As noted, shoplifting in Georgia can be a serious offense involving severe penalties. If you are facing shoplifting charges in Georgia, it’s essential to have a skilled attorney on your side who can examine all the factors surrounding your situation and develop a strong defense to your case. Some of the common defense strategies used in Covington shoplifting cases include:
- Lack of intent. If you unknowingly walk out of a store with merchandise, your attorney may be able to assert that your crime was a mistake you did not intend to commit. There are a variety of distracting factors an attorney can use to show a lack of intent, such as being distracted by a child, phone conversation, or some other emotional situation.
- Intention to pay for the item. In the event that you were arrested for shoplifting before you left the store, your attorney may be able to argue that you had the intent to pay for the item. However, if there is store surveillance showing you trying to conceal the item in a purse or bag, it can make this defense difficult to prove.
- The property was not valued correctly. A distinguishing factor in shoplifting charges is the value of the property. An attorney will ensure that the property you are being accused of shoplifting is valued correctly and that you are not wrongfully charged at an elevated level.
These are just a couple of the common defense strategies used in shoplifting cases. Ultimately, the best way to minimize the penalties associated with your shoplifting charges is to consult a trusted shoplifting lawyer.
Contact the Experienced Covington Shoplifting Attorneys at Tony L. Blair P.C.
If you are facing shoplifting charges in Covington, Georgia, it’s essential to seek legal representation from a trusted attorney. Our team has extensive experience representing individuals facing shoplifting charges. If you have been charged with a shoplifting misdemeanor or felony in Georgia, our experienced team is here to fight for your rights.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a shoplifting or other theft crime in Georgia, contact our team for a free consultation.