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What happens if I accidentally take an item from a store?

We all live busy lives, and this can lead us to make mistakes from time to time. The world is more fast-paced than ever, and this might mean that while grocery or outlet shopping, we may also be preoccupied with looking after our kids, replying to messages or returning calls. In doing so, it’s surprisingly common for a person to accidentally walk out of a store with an item that they haven’t paid for.

While this is, in many cases, an honest mistake, it can cause a person to be accused of shoplifting. As a result, they may be subject to criminal charges. The following is an overview of what you should do if you have been accused of shoplifting in Georgia.

Understand the definition of theft by shoplifting in Georgia

In order to defend yourself against a crime, you should first fully understand the definition of the crime. The definition of shoplifting in Georgia is the act of a person intentionally appropriating merchandise for their own use without paying. This could involve altering the price tag of an item so that less is paid, or concealing and taking possession of goods from a retail establishment.

Understand the possible penalties

If you are found guilty of shoplifting an item that is worth $500 or less, you will be charged with a misdemeanor, which could lead to up to one year in jail plus a fine.

Start crafting your defense

To be found guilty of shoplifting, it needs to be shown that you acted intentionally. Therefore a great defense for those who accidentally took an item from a store is to show lack of intent. You may be able to show that your child put the item in your bag without your knowledge, or that you tried to return the item as soon as you realized that you did not pay for it.

If you have been wrongfully accused of shoplifting, you should understand that you may still be found guilty unless you take action to form a strong defense.