Shoplifting can have significant consequences for those caught in the act.
Understanding the potential repercussions of shoplifting is important for everyone, especially young individuals tempted to engage in this illegal activity.
1. Criminal charges
Shoplifting is a theft crime in Georgia. Depending on the value of the stolen items, it can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor charges can result in fines of up to $1,000 and a jail term of up to 12 months. Felony charges, which apply when the value of the stolen items is over $1,500, can lead to more severe penalties, including longer prison sentences.
2. Civil penalties
Beyond criminal consequences, shoplifters can also face civil liability. Store owners have the right to sue shoplifters for damages, which can include the value of the stolen items, attorney fees and even punitive damages in some cases.
3. Criminal record
A conviction for shoplifting can leave a permanent mark on your criminal record. This can affect future employment opportunities, housing applications, and even your ability to obtain certain licenses.
4. Additional penalties for juveniles
Approximately 25% of shoplifters are juveniles. For those caught shoplifting, the consequences can be significant. In addition to criminal charges, they may face additional penalties such as mandatory counseling, curfew restrictions and increased parental supervision. Shoplifting can also affect a student’s education. Schools may suspend or expel students who engage in this illegal activity, disrupting their academic progress.
When facing shoplifting allegations, exploring potential defenses is important. Common defenses may include lack of intent, mistaken identity, ownership disputes, age or mental state considerations, and challenging evidence obtained through illegal searches.