Although in many cases it may seem quite mundane, shoplifting is a criminal offense and occurs when someone either steals or attempts to steal from a store. The offence happens when an individual picks up an item, regardless of the value, and walks off the premises. Shoplifting is also characterized when a person purposefully changes price tags on an item, putting the lower price on the object that he or she intends to purchase. These are common occurrences as is leaving restaurant without paying the bill or consuming food or beverages in a grocery store where there is no intention of paying. Regardless of the reason, if you should be arrested for shoplifting the first thing you will need to do is hire a theft offense lawyer in Atlanta.
Although shoplifting is a criminal charge it is quite a low level offense. Even so, if the goods that were stolen are of significant value or the individual has a prior record for shoplifting, the offense can be serious and carry significant penalties. If you are arrested, attempt to hire a theft offense attorney in Atlanta that has shown that they can get the charges reduced or even better, dropped altogether. If you are found guilty you will have a criminal record which can haunt you when obtaining credit or employment.
The best solution is to have the charges dropped; an attorney may be in a position to see this happen. It is wise not to plead guilty as the charge then becomes a permanent criminal record. If the charges cannot be dropped, then the attorney can work on getting a reduction in the charge. If the case is dropped be prepared to pay restitution to the store as well as court costs and the fees of your attorney.
Young people are often nabbed for shoplifting; often they do it on a simple dare. In situations like this, if the teenager has no prior record the penalty may be reduced to a few weekends of community service or the attendance at a rehab program. In many cases, if the perpetrator was younger than 18 at the time of the offense, the records are sealed which means that the general public, including credit agencies and potential employers cannot access the record. In this way the youngster is not burdened with a life-long stigma.
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