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Chris E. Ambrose
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THEFT BY SHOPLIFTING IN GA


The Most Common Theft Offense
Theft by Shoplifting is probably the most common theft offense. It also has a more complicated sentencing scheme than other types of theft.

Definition of Theft by Shoplifting
Theft by Shoplifting occurs when you take merchandise from a retail establishment through various means. This means include concealment, altering or swapping price tags, or transfer from one container to another.

Penalties for Shoplifting
Shoplifting is theft but is treated much differently than other types of theft. The statute is somewhat convoluted so, rather than try to explain it, below is the statute in its entirety:

16-8-14. 

(b) (1) A person convicted of the offense of theft by shoplifting, as provided in subsection (a) of this Code section, when the property which was the subject of the theft is $500.00 or less in value shall be punished as for a misdemeanor; provided, however, that:

(A) Upon conviction of a second offense for shoplifting, where the first offense is either a felony or a misdemeanor, as defined by this Code section, in addition to or in lieu of any imprisonment which might be imposed, the defendant shall be fined not less than $500.00, and the fine shall not be suspended or probated;

(B) Upon conviction of a third offense for shoplifting, when the first two offenses are either felonies or misdemeanors, or a combination of a felony and a misdemeanor, as defined by this Code section, in addition to or in lieu of any fine which might be imposed, the defendant shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than 30 days or confinement in a "special alternative incarceration-probation boot camp," probation detention center or other community correctional facility of the Department of Corrections for a period of 120 days or shall be sentenced to monitored house arrest for a period of 120 days and, in addition to such types of confinement, may be required to undergo psychological evaluation and treatment to be paid for by the defendant; and such sentence of imprisonment or confinement shall not be suspended, probated, deferred, or withheld; and

(C) Upon conviction of a fourth or subsequent offense for shoplifting, where the prior convictions are either felonies or misdemeanors, or any combination of felonies and misdemeanors, as defined by this Code section, the defendant commits a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years; and the first year of such sentence shall not be suspended, probated, deferred, or withheld.

(2) A person convicted of the offense of theft by shoplifting, as provided in subsection (a) of this Code section, when the property which was the subject of the theft exceeds $500.00 in value commits a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years.

(3) A person convicted of the offense of theft by shoplifting, as provided in subsection (a) of this Code section, when the property which was the subject of the theft is taken from three separate stores or retail establishments within one county during a period of seven days or less and when the aggregate value of the property which was the subject of each theft exceeds $500.00 in value, commits a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years.

(4) A person convicted of the offense of theft by shoplifting, as provided in subsection (a) of this Code section, when the property which was the subject of the theft is taken during a period of 180 days and when the aggregate value of the property which was the subject of each theft exceeds $500.00 in value, commits a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years.

(c) In all cases involving theft by shoplifting, the term "value" means the actual retail price of the property at the time and place of the offense. The unaltered price tag or other marking on property, or duly identified photographs thereof, shall be prima-facie evidence of value and ownership of the property.

(d) Subsection (b) of this Code section shall in no way affect the authority of a sentencing judge to provide for a sentence to be served on weekends or during the nonworking hours of the defendant as provided in Code Section 17-10-3, relative to punishment for misdemeanors.

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