Felony shoplifting means with the intent of taking merchandise without paying for it or depriving the owner of possession of the merchandise or its value. Actions that constitute shoplifting when paired with such intent include concealing or taking possession of merchandise, altering price tags, switching price tags or labels, transferring merchandise from one container to another, or wrongfully causing the amount paid to be less than the merchant’s price. If the value of those items is over $500.00, then the case is a felony.

However, you can also be charged with felony shoplifting even if the amount is less than a dollar if, you have been previously convicted of shoplifting three or more times whether felonies or misdemeanors. Also, if a person commits three shoplifting offenses in a week and the amounts are more than $100.00 is also a felony.

The penalty for felony shoplifting is 1-10 years and a $100,000 fine.

There are some common misconceptions about shoplifting:

” I never left the store, therefore I didn’t shoplift”. This is NOT true. Georgia courts have said that concealment is enough. From a pure legal standpoint, you don’t even have to get to the checkout line.

” The employee searched and questioned me but didn’t read me my rights, so they can’t use what they found.” This is also NOT true. Your constitutional rights are only protected against the government, not private security organizations. Anything you say to them or they find CAN be used against you in Court.

“The store sued me and I paid. I cannot be prosecuted under double jeopardy.” Not true. Jeopardy only attaches to a criminal prosecution, not a civil action. The big difference is who you are in court with. If it is not the District Attorney’s office, this defense is not valid.

However, there may be factual problems with the State’s case. There may be ways to get the case dismissed or reduced. Call us today.