To some, it may seem like a minor act to take a candy bar or tube of lipstick from the store without paying for it. Whether acting on an impulse or enjoying the thrill, many Georgia residents fail to see the harm in a little shoplifting. It is also possible to face shoplifting charges after accidentally taking something from the store without paying. Regardless of whether the item in question was an inexpensive food product or a valuable piece of electronics, it is important for you to understand the potential consequences of shoplifting.

FindLaw points out that in 2015, over 1.2 million alleged shoplifters were detained by 25 large retailers in the United States. When you visit the restroom in any store, you may see signs posted warning that shoplifters will be prosecuted. You might not realize that shoplifting entails more than just taking an item without paying. It can also include switching price tags or moving a more expensive product from one container to a box with a lower price tag. In Georgia, the penalties for shoplifting include the following:

  • A misdemeanor charge for the theft of $500 or less, including up to one year in jail and a fine
  • A felony charge for the theft of at least $500, including up to 10 years in prison and a fine
  • The same felony penalties for stealing property from at least three different establishments in the same county within a three-day period

Everyone deserves a competent defense for accusations involving theft, no matter how serious the charges. This information is meant to educate you, but it should not replace the advice of a lawyer.