Shoplifting is a serious offense that involves stealing goods from one or more merchant stores. Severe penalties can often result. Children, teenagers and adults can be caught shoplifting, all with different consequences. Anyone who has been involved in a shoplifting incident should contact a Cobb County Criminal Defense Lawyer for help in dealing with the legal system.
Petty theft and grand theft are the two categories into which shoplifting falls. The former describes items that are less valuable, allowing the person accused of theft to be charged with a misdemeanor. Individuals accused of grand theft face a much more serious charge as the items stolen are more valuable. Grand theft is a felony offense.
Offenders facing either petty theft or grand theft can face jail time. Other penalties include probation and community service. Those convicted of either will be required to pay expensive court fines and may be ordered to pay restitution to the merchant involved in the theft. When children are prosecuted for shoplifting, parents or legal guardians are held liable and may also be required to pay restitution.
Shoplifting in Marietta
Store merchants and their employees also have rights and responsibilities in a shoplifting case. Store owners or employees who suspect individuals of stealing from the store have the right to detain those individuals until law enforcement arrives and also have the right to conduct their own investigation until police officers show up on the scene. All investigations should occur immediately and in a reasonable manner.
When conducting searches, store owners or employees cannot look or reach inside concealed bags or purses or search accused individuals unless someone actually saw the individuals hide the items in question. If customers or other employees alert an individual in authority to the problem, the item must be in plain view before the accused may be detained or for a search to occur.
Merchants also have the responsibility of letting accused persons go if nothing was stolen. Store owners and employees also cannot yell loudly to accuse individuals of stealing when other people are present on the premises.
Seek Legal Advice
If you or a family members face any charges that involve shoplifting or related charges, contact an attorney at Webb & D'Orazio today where you will find experienced Cobb County criminal defense lawyers.