You don't have to steal something to get accused of shoplifting

When people imagine shoplifting offenses, they typically picture a teenager slipping candy bars, make-up or sunglasses into a pocket or purse to avoid paying for it. Many people view shoplifting as a form of youthful rebellion and not a serious crime.

However, the government of Georgia does not share that perspective. Instead, the state takes issues related to retail fraud and theft very seriously. In fact, the legal definition of shoplifting or retail fraud in Georgia is broader than most people imagine.

It includes many activities beyond simply concealing items and then stealing items from a store. If you aren't familiar with the state's law, you could find yourself feeling very surprised when loss prevention or security professionals detain you while shopping in a store. Even if you didn't steal something, you could still wind up facing charges.

Georgia retail fraud law includes concealment and obfuscation

Maybe you don't like carrying baskets or pushing a cart so you just hold items in your arms, and then something slipped into your pocket from the crook of your elbow without your realizing it. Maybe you tried on multiple shirts and forgot that the tank top you had on underneath was also from the store. It's also possible that while inspecting an item you accidentally removed or deactivated a security tag.

All of these scenarios could result in an arrest and charges of retail fraud. Although you never left the store with the items in question, security or loss prevention professionals might believe that you intended to deprive the retailer of the full value of the item in question.

People can also wind up facing retail fraud accusations for placing an item from the store inside another item, such as a container or a box, or removing or altering price tags or barcodes. Individuals who had no intention of stealing could do something that looks suspicious and find themselves suddenly facing criminal charges that could affect their lives for some time to come.

Intent is important for the prosecution of a crime

Because many people think of shoplifting as a minor offense, they may assume that pleading guilty to avoid dragging out the criminal proceedings is the best way to handle allegations of shoplifting. However, a guilty plea will affect your employment and even your personal life if people discover what happened.

If you got arrested because of a mix-up, you may be able to defend yourself by asserting the fact that you did not steal and had no intention of doing so. Other people may be able to testify that the behavior that loss prevention considered to be suspicious was actually typical of how you behave in a retail establishment before you make a purchase.

Different scenarios present different opportunities for defense. Talking with an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney can help you explore your options.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Mr. Teiger, Thank you very much for your time and results. I will definitely recommend you & your firm to anyone who wants to be treated professionally courteously and needs results.Hope all is well.Again...thank you. Regards, Paul L.

msg iconEmail Us For a Response

When you have legal questions or concerns, contact our team at Teiger Law Center, P.C., by calling 678-374-7645, 800-780-2275 or reach us via email by completing our online contact form. From our Cumming and Alpharetta law offices, we represent clients in the Atlanta metro and throughout north Georgia.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Cumming Office
514 West Maple Street
Suite 101
Cumming, GA 30040

Toll Free: 866-726-2153
Phone: 678-374-7645
Fax: 770-406-8858
Cumming Law Office Map

Alpharetta Office
12600 Deerfield Parkway, Suite 100
Alpharetta, GA 30004

Toll Free: 800-780-2275
Phone: 678-374-7645
Fax: 770-406-8858
Map & Directions