Taking something that doesn’t belong to you from a store amounts to shoplifting. This theft offense can come with serious consequences if you’re convicted of the charge; therefore, you may want to organize a strategic criminal defense if police have arrested you and charged you with a shoplifting violation.
For Georgia residents who are dealing with a shoplifting charge, there are a few important pieces of advice you should keep in mind.
1. Your shoplifting charge will probably be on your criminal record
Shoplifting is theft, and another word for theft is “larceny.” When you’re accused of larceny — or taking someone else’s things without permission — any resulting conviction will likely appear on your criminal record.
In some cases, if you allegedly stole a very small value item, it may not appear on your criminal record and be dealt with via a criminal citation, but there’s no guarantee. If the charge is a misdemeanor or felony, then it will be on your public criminal record available for all future and current employers and family members to see.
2. Your credit rating will probably drop
A shoplifting conviction could have a negative effect on your credit rating. Most criminal convictions will not cause a drop in someone’s credit rating, but if the store you allegedly stole from tries to bill you for the items stolen via a civil demand letter, it could end up on your credit report. This would be the case if a civil lawsuit is filed against you and you’re not able to pay the resulting judgment.
That said, many stores will send a civil demand letter to you, and never follow through with filing a civil complaint — so just because you got a civil demand letter does not mean that you will ultimately have to pay.
3. You can defend yourself
Just because you were accused of shoplifting in Georgia does not mean that you were guilty of the offense. You may be able to successfully defend yourself against a wrongful shoplifting allegation by planning out a strategic criminal defense.