When someone is accused of shoplifting, they may understandably want to put the situation behind them as quickly as possible. As a result, they may feel obligated to plead guilty so the case will disappear. However, quickly entering a guilty plea is not always the best option in a criminal shoplifting case. Before making any decisions, consider meeting with a Palmetto shoplifting lawyer to discuss your options. A guilty plea carries legal consequences that could affect all aspects of your life.

Our seasoned defense attorney will fight to protect your future by building an effective and aggressive criminal defense strategy. Call J. Ryan Brown Law today to get started.

Understanding the Crime of Shoplifting in Palmetto

Under Georgia law, the crime of shoplifting occurs when somebody takes merchandise (without paying for it) with the intent to deprive the owner of the goods. The following actions might also constitute a shoplifting charge in Georgia:

  • Changing an item’s price tag
  • Intentionally causing the amount paid to be lower than an item’s actual price
  • Transferring the merchandise from a store to a different container
  • Switching the price tag or label from one item to another
  • Hiding merchandise while in a store
  • Failing to scan an item in the self-checkout line (“skip scanning”)

If the alleged crime is a first offense and the value of the stolen merchandise is no more than $500, the defendant could face misdemeanor charges. However, when the defendant has prior convictions or the value of the item is greater, felony charges are possible. Because the consequences of a shoplifting conviction are grave, working with a seasoned Palmetto attorney is critical.

Possible Defense Strategies Against Shoplifting Charges

Our experienced Palmetto attorney can thoroughly examine the facts and evidence of a case to develop a strong, custom-tailored defense.

Constitutional Challenges

Our attorney may be able to challenge on constitutional grounds the arrest or the introduction of certain evidence. The police might have unlawfully searched the defendant’s bags or person without probable cause. If the police unlawfully seized the allegedly stolen evidence, our attorney can work to suppress that evidence. In addition, if the police violated the defendant’s constitutional rights during the arrest, our Palmetto shoplifting attorney can fight tirelessly to get the charges dismissed.

Lack of Criminal Intent

Our attorney can argue there was no criminal intent behind the incident. Although the police might have found the merchandise in the defendant’s bag or belongings, the items very well could have been placed there temporarily with the intent to pay for them later. This is a common defense in “skip scanning” cases: It is difficult to prove whether someone accidentally missed an item or if it was on purpose.

Challenge the Value of the Stolen Items

The charges in a shoplifting crime can vary depending on the value of the allegedly stolen merchandise. Our Palmetto shoplifting attorney could dispute the value of the items to get the prosecution to reduce the charges.

Search for Exculpatory Evidence

Lastly, our attorney can search for favorable evidence that supports the defendant’s case. When you have questions about how an attorney can assist with shoplifting charges, do not hesitate to contact our firm.

Get Help From a Palmetto Shoplifting Attorney

People make mistakes. It is possible to have simply forgotten to pay for something or walk away absent-mindedly. Alternatively, you might have had a lapse in judgment and decided to take something on a whim. Regardless of what happened, you deserve a strong defense. You have the right to work with an experienced Palmetto shoplifting lawyer who will stand up and fight for you.

Call J. Ryan Brown Law to set up an initial consultation with a committed legal advocate. Let us help you clear up any misunderstandings today.

J. Ryan Brown Law, LLC

J. Ryan Brown Law, LLC