Has Someone You Know Been Accused of Shoplifting?Written on September 2, 2014
Shoplifting can be a tempting crime of opportunity. For some, it’s all too easy to slip something into a pocket and head for the exit. Many retailers, however, have sophisticated means of combating shoplifting. That can include cameras, loss prevention personnel and facial recognition software.
The value of the goods in question will determine whether the case is treated as a misdemeanor or felony. If the items are worth less than $500, the charge will be misdemeanor. If the total value is greater than $500, it will be a felony.
Retailers treat shoplifting as a very serious crime. The loss of goods due to theft can have a big impact on the bottom line. If you are arrested for shoplifting, you will be taken to jail and processed. If this happens, your first call should be to The Silverbach Group.
There is a popular misconception that, in order to be arrested for shoplifting, you have to actually leave the store with unpaid for merchandise. That’s not the case. If you conceal an item in a store, and are stopped by security before exiting, you will most likely be detained and arrested. The excuse: “I was going to pay for it when I got to the register,” isn’t going to keep you out of jail. The same is true for altering price tags, removing an item from its packaging and transferring price tags from one item to another.
You don’t have to be the one who actually takes the merchandise to be charged with shoplifting. If someone acts as a lookout or causes some sort of distraction in the business while the shoplifting is taking place, that person can also be arrested.
Shoplifting has a complex sentencing structure if a person has multiple convictions. The important thing to remember is that the more often you are caught and convicted, the harsher the penalties will be. By the time a third or fourth shoplifting conviction occurs, the guilty party will be facing an extended stay in jail in addition to steep fines and court costs.
There is an interesting clause in the Georgia Code regarding shoplifting. If a person is convicted of shoplifting from three separate businesses within seven days, in the same county, and the combined value of the merchandise is greater than $500, it will count as one felony.
Shoplifting is an offense with stiff penalties that will remain on your criminal record. However, there are times when overzealous loss prevention employees may detain you and call the police when the facts of the situation are in question. If you need assistance with a shoplifting charge, or any other legal matter, call The Silverbach Group without delay. You can reach us at 770-635-0334.