What would punishment be for first time shoplifting value of items $20.00 or less no previous charges?

Question:

What would punishment be for first time shoplifting value of items $20.00 or less no previous charges?

Caught with items in bag after checking out and purchasing some stuff. Issued ticket booked and bonded out on cash bond have to attend court.

Answer:

This is a Misdemeanor Shoplifting charge in Georgia. Because it is a Misdemeanor it carries a penalty of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine up to a $1,000. Based on your lack of any criminal history I would not expect a prosecutor to want jail time for this offense. If you Plead Guilty to the charge you should expect – a period of probation, pay probation fees, fine plus court costs and fees, community service, attend a Class that explains why you should not shoplift and be banned from the store where the merchandise was taken.

However, if you Plead Guilty or are Convicted of this Shoplifting charge, it will NEVER come off of your Criminal History. Georgia has some of the strictest laws regarding Convictions and Criminal Records in the nation. Your best option would be to avoid a Conviction on this charge if it is at all possible.

I would advise you to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you on this charge. The attorney may be able to resolve your case without a Conviction. There may also be other options such as a Diversion Program that would prevent a Conviction and therefore protect your criminal record. I hope this information is helpful to you. Good Luck!

George McCranie – Offices in Valdosta & Douglas, GA

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