Theft is a crime recognized by many jurisdictions throughout the United States. In Georgia, theft crimes are broken down by type, and one type of theft that is commonly charged in the state is shoplifting. This informational post will introduce readers to the elements of shoplifting in Georgia, but as with all posts on this blog, no part of this post should be interpreted as legal advice.
What is shoplifting?
Shoplifting is a property crime. It happens when a person takes products from a retailer without paying for them. There are very specific elements that prosecutors must demonstrate to successfully convict defendants on charges of shoplifting.
The elements of shoplifting
Shoplifting begins when a person forms an intent to take merchandise for sale without paying for it. Once they have formed the intent, they must make an affirmative action to deprive the store of its property. Those actions can include:
- Hiding products and leaving the store with them
- Changing price tags on items to be able to take them
- Altering prices to change how much the individual pays for them
- Placing products in different containers to take them from the store
Without an intent and an action, a prosecutor may be unable to secure a shoplifting charge.
Shoplifting is a crime and is serious
Readers may not fully understand the severity of shoplifting charges in Georgia. Though some shoplifting cases may amount to misdemeanors, those misdemeanors can result in nearly year-long jail sentences and fines. When shoplifted merchandise has a value of at least $500, felony charges and jail times of up to 10 years can apply.
Shoplifting charges are serious and should be treated as such. The support of a trusted criminal law attorney can make a difference in the defense process of a shoplifting defendant.