In Georgia, theft by taking is the crime of taking property belonging to another with the intent to permanently deprive the owner. The property that is stolen in a theft by taking is typically personal property, such as jewelry or personal electronics. Shoplifting is another type of theft crime in Georgia. However, shoplifting focuses on a different type of property than theft by taking. Instead of focusing on personal property, theft by shoplifting focuses on merchandise in a store.

What Is the Law Regarding Shoplifting in Georgia?

Shoplifting is known as theft by shoplifting in Georgia. Theft by shoplifting is the crime of working alone or with other people to take merchandise with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the value of the item or to use the item themselves. The person committing the theft by shoplifting has no intent of paying the full price for the merchandise.

What Are Some Examples of Theft by Shoplifting in Georgia?

Actions that constitute theft by shoplifting under Georgia law include:

  • Altering the price tag on marked goods or merchandise at any store
  • Concealing or taking the merchandise from the store while shopping
  • Transferring merchandise from one container to another inside a store
  • Taking possession of the merchandise while in the store with paying
  • Exchanging labels or price tags from one item to another
  • Causing the store to charge a lesser amount for an item

What Makes Shoplifting a Felony?

Theft by shoplifting becomes a felony when:

  • The value of the stolen merchandise is more than $500
  • The value of the stolen merchandise is under $500, but this is the perpetrator’s fourth time committing a theft by shoplifting in Georgia
  • The perpetrator stole merchandise from three stores in one county over seven days or less with the total value of the merchandise from each theft exceeds $500
  • The perpetrator stole merchandise over a period of 180 days and the aggregate value of the stolen merchandise for each theft is more than $500

What Is the Penalty for a Felony Theft by Shoplifting Conviction in Georgia?

The penalty for felony theft by shoplifting is one to 10 years in prison. If the felony conviction is the perpetrator’s fourth theft by shoplifting conviction, then the first year of the sentence my not be deferred, withheld, probated, or suspended.

Should I Contact a Lawyer about My Felony Shoplifting Charge?

Yes. It is important to have legal counsel when fighting a felony criminal charge, since such a criminal charge can result in prison time. Contact a Georgia lawyer immediately to fight your charge.