Will a Shoplifting Charge Ruin My Life?

Will a Shoplifting Charge Ruin My Life?

Shoplifting is considered a theft offense. Georgia Code § 16-8-14 describes shoplifting as when a person (alone or with another person) acts with intent to take merchandise or defraud owners of merchandise in terms of its value. Shoplifting can include:

  • Concealing and taking goods or merchandise
  • Changing or interchanging price tags or other price markings
  • Moving goods or merchandise from one container to another

Consequences of Shoplifting in Georgia

Depending on the value of allegedly stolen items, you may be charged with petty or grand theft. Consequences for convictions also vary based on whether this is a first, second, or subsequent offense. With shoplifting charges, you face possible fines, jail time, and probation.

For the theft of items valued at $500 or less, you can be charged with a misdemeanor, for a first offense. Misdemeanor convictions are punishable by up to 12 months of jail time and/or fines of up to $1,000.

With a second-time offense conviction, you can face an additional fine upwards of $500. If convicted a third time, you may face probation and house arrest as well as a required psychological evaluation. The consequences and stakes only increase with subsequent offenses.

For the theft of items worth over $500, you face felony charges, which can be punishable by 1-10 years of jail time with a conviction. So, while shoplifting charges are serious, a conviction is even more grave.

How Long Does a Misdemeanor Stay on Your Record?

While being charged doesn’t ruin your life, a conviction can affect you. If you are convicted, then your misdemeanor will be on your record permanently and will appear on your background checks.

Again, this doesn’t mean your life is over. Some aspects of life may just be more difficult. In some instances, you can work to expunge the conviction from your record. Obtaining an expungement will require the help of a skilled attorney.

If you or a loved one has been charged with misdemeanor theft by shoplifting, you should immediately contact a reliable criminal defense attorney. At Balbo & Gregg, Attorneys at Law, PC, we understand how serious a conviction is, which is why our attorneys are ready to fight for you. To schedule your free case evaluation, reach out to us via our online form or at (866) 580-3089.