It’s common for customers to be accused of shoplifting, and such instances can be simply a case of misunderstanding. However, if the business owner who accused you decided to call the police or file charges against you, you may find yourself needing to defend yourself in court.
If you are unable to successfully defend yourself, you may face significant fines or even a criminal record as a result of a shoplifting charge. This is why it is particularly important that you take the time to understand how the law applies to your situation and the possible defense options available.
What are the consequences of a shoplifting charge in Georgia?
In Georgia, the charges that you will face as a result of shoplifting will depend on the value of the item that was allegedly stolen. If the value of the allegedly stolen property is $500 or less, the defendant will be charged with a misdemeanor and may face up to one year in jail, plus a fine. If the value of the shoplifted property exceeds the value of $500, or if property is stolen from three different stores in the United States within three days, the defendant will face felony charges. This means that they may spend between one and 10 years in prison, in addition to paying a fine.
What defense options are available?
There are many defense options available to those who have been accused of shoplifting. One common defense is the defense of mistaken identity. It may be that an image of a person shoplifting was detected on security cameras and was presumed to be you. You may be able to prove that you have been subject to a case of mistaken identity by providing an alibi.
Another possible defense is showing that you, in fact, own the item in question. You may, for example, have bought an item in one store before entering another store, then were accused of shoplifting.
If you have been accused of shoplifting in Georgia, it is important that you take swift action to form your defense. By doing so, you will stand the best possible chance of avoiding charges.