Shoplifters in Georgia may face criminal charges, jail time and other stiff penalties. Shoplifting may be committed in any number of ways. A person who commits a shoplifting crime will be subject to criminal charges with a range of sentencing guidelines. An imposed sentence will depend on the number of previous offenses and the monetary amount of stolen items.

A person who commits a shoplifting crime in the amount of $500.00 or less, and it is a first offense, will be charged with a misdemeanor. A second offense may be a felony or misdemeanor, and will be subject to a minimum $500 fine in addition to or in lieu of jail time. A third shoplifting conviction will result in no less than 30 days jail time, probation or 120 days house arrest in addition to fines. Finally, a fourth or higher offense will result in a one- to 10-year jail sentence, with the first year being mandatory, ineligible for suspension or probation.

A determination of felony or misdemeanor charges will depend on the monetary value of items stolen, or in other words, the retail price. Felony shoplifting charges hold any one of three determining factors, as follows: If the value exceeds $500.00 in any offense, if the theft took place at three separate retail establishments within the same county over a period of seven days or less or if multiple thefts were committed over a 180-day period and the total value of all stolen merchandise is over $500.00.

Whether charged with a misdemeanor or a felony shoplifting charge, a defendant may want to think about the benefits of consulting legal counsel.