Shoplifting is commonly defined as taking merchandise for sale in a retail store. The person’s intent is to permanently deprive the owner of the merchandise. Shoplifting ranges from concealing the merchandise while in the store to walking out the stole without paying for it. Georgia’s shoplifting law is more complicated and specifically outlines several situations that are considered to count as shoplifting.

How Does Georgia Define Shoplifting?

In Georgia, the crime of shoplifting is known as theft by shoplifting. A person is guilty of theft by shoplifting when they take merchandise without paying the owner for the item and with the intent to either use the item themselves or deprive the owner of the value of the item. A person can work alone or with one or more people to commit this crime.

What Are Examples of Theft by Shoplifting?

There are a number of actions that one can take that will count as theft by shoplifting under Georgia law. To be charged with theft by shoplifting, a person has to do one or more of the following:

  • Take possession of or conceal merchandise of a store
  • Transfer the merchandise owned by a store from one place to another
  • Alter the price tag on a store’s merchandise
  • Intentionally cause a lesser amount than the store’s state price to be paid for the merchandise
  • Change price tags or labels from one item to another

Is Theft by Shoplifting a Misdemeanor Charge?

Theft by shoplifting can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor theft by shoplifting occurs when the property is valued at $500 or under and the offense is perpetrator’s first, second, or third time committing this crime.

What Is the Punishment for a First-Time Misdemeanor Theft by Shoplifting Charge?

The punishment for a person’s first misdemeanor theft by shoplifting conviction in Georgia is a maximum of 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Subsequent misdemeanor convictions will result in harsher punishments.

Should I Contact a Lawyer?

Yes. Shoplifting is a serious crime and can result in a jail sentence for even the theft of a relatively cheap item. Contact a Georgia lawyer immediately to determine how to fight your case.