Shoplifting is a very common property crime, but did you know that it could result in a federal trial? The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention says that one in four young Americans admit to having shoplifted before and estimates that around one in every eleven Americans shoplift. They also say that the retail industry loses around $50 billion annually due to shoplifters. With a crime this common, how can your everyday Georgia shoplifting charge turn into a Georgia federal shoplifting offense? A harmful federal conviction can appear on your record for the common crime of shoplifting. But how?
Did you know that you can be subject to a federal trial for your shoplifting charge? Crimes on federal property are taken care of in federal court. Georgia has its own set of laws for shoplifting.
Georgia Shoplifting Laws
Each state’s laws treat shoplifting convictions differently. Sentencing for a shoplifting Georgia law recognizes shoplifting as “theft by shoplifting” in code section § 16-8-14. In the state of Georgia, there is a fine line between a misdemeanor and felony shoplifting charge. Let’s see how state law generally applies to shoplifting cases.
What makes up a misdemeanor shoplifting charge?
A misdemeanor is characterized by stealing goods that amount to $500.00 or less. (The dollar value is based on what the retail price was marked as.)
If you are convicted:
You may be sentenced to a maximum of one year in prison and/or a $1000.00 fine.
What makes up a felony shoplifting charge?
A felony is characterized by stealing goods that amount to greater than $500.00. (The dollar value is based on what the retail price was marked as.) You may also be charged with a felony shoplifting offense if you have stolen small amounts from different stores that amount to greater than $500.00.
If you are convicted:
You may be sentenced to one to ten years in prison as well as other fines that the court may impose.
How Do You Get Charged With a Georgia Federal Shoplifting Offense?
Any crime that is committed on federal property becomes subject to a federal charge and trial. In Columbus, GA, we are right next to Fort Benning- a military base and property of the federal government. Because Fort Benning is federal property, shoplifting there will result in a federal shoplifting offense. This is true for any federal property and crime; all crimes that happen on federal property will be tried in federal court.
However, these federal charges are still subject to Georgia law (or the law of whatever state you’re in) if you are a civilian. A Georgia federal shoplifting conviction for a civilian would still follow the same misdemeanor and felony parameters that we discussed above. Military personnel face different consequences.
If military personnel commit this crime, they may face punishments of fees, pay reductions, rank reductions, and even a dishonorable discharge.
All of these punishments may be used in the event of a conviction, and there will also be the smudge of a federal conviction on your record. To avoid this, you need someone who knows how to defend you.
Cases in Fort Benning
In the past few years, Fort Benning shoplifting cases have decreased because they have been cracking down on shoplifters. Their desire to decreasing shoplifting comes from the importance that the store “the exchange” has for the community. Shoplifting from the exchange is essentially stealing from FMWRC and service programs because a large portion of money that the store makes goes right back into the community.
There have been many cases in which military personnel have lost money, their rankings, and even their jobs. Civilians are also subject to hurting their careers because they will receive a federal charge on their record if convicted.
Defenses to Federal Shoplifting
An experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney will be able to go over your case and find an adequate defense. We know how to defend you. Some popular defenses for this type of case are mistaken identity, insufficient evidence, and improper arrest. However, we will do whatever best suits you and your case.
We Can Help in Your Federal Shoplifting Case
If you are being tried for federal shoplifting in Georgia, we know how to help. Our experienced team has won cases just like yours. If you are facing criminal charges of this nature, you cannot afford to gamble on your lawyer. Contact Wadkins & Wallace today by calling at (706) 221-9451 or by filling out this online form.