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A Criminal Defense Law Firm

Theft and Shoplifting

While Georgia law provides over half a dozen different types of theft, the most common charges include Theft by Taking and Theft by Shoplifting. Georgia statute defines theft by taking as occurring when a person “unlawfully takes or, being in lawful possession thereof, unlawfully appropriates any property of another with the intention of depriving him of the property, regardless of the manner in which property is taken or appropriated” (Georgia Code 16-8-2). When a theft offense involves property valued at $1,500, or less, the crime in punishable as a misdemeanor, except for shoplifting which has a $500 cut-off between misdemeanor and felony. Shoplifting in Georgia is defined as performing certain actions with the intent of taking merchandise without paying for it or depriving the owner of possession of the merchandise or its value. Theft charges can be especially devastating to a person’s ability to be successful and it is especially important that these charges are dismissed and records expunged. For example, an employed is far less likely to hire someone who has a criminal record for theft.

We have great success in obtaining dismissal of theft charges and in cleaning up arrest records. As with many misdemeanor offenses, Pre-trial Diversion Programs are now common. These programs allow you to complete certain requirements in a specified time period and once completed, the charges will be dismissed and eligible for expungement from your record. To manage felony drug possession it is more common to use “drug courts” because research has shown that they are highly effective at combating repeat arrests. Drug courts typically require an intensive period of judicially supervised drug abuse counseling. The reward for participation is a dismissed charge and expungement of the record. There are also special “first offender” provisions of the Georgia Code that keep criminal convictions off your record. Under the Georgia First Offender Act, a defendant, at the time of entering a plea, can request that the judge sentence the defendant to First Offender Georgia treatment. If the judge agrees, then after the defendant completes the terms and conditions of the sentence, the defendant is deemed to not have a criminal conviction.