Being arrested for shoplifting can be a frightening experience. A theft charge on an arrest record and a related conviction can have devastating effects on an individual’s ability to seek or maintain employment and pass background screenings. Understanding that, certain courts in Georgia have diversion programs designed to allow first time offenders to have their case dismissed if they meet certain requirements (such as attending a class, performing community service and paying a program fee).
City of Alpharetta Municipal Court
The City of Alpharetta has a diversion program called a Hold & Clear program. If an individual has a clean record (no prior convictions), and has not taken advantage of a pre-trial diversion program in the past, with the assistance of an attorney the individual may be eligible for the Hold & Clear program. As part of the program, the individual will go before the judge and enter a plea of guilty; however, the judge will hold the guilty plea and provide a set of requirements (which will have been previously negotiated with the prosecutor) for the individual to complete. As long as they successfully complete the requirements, the case will be dismissed. If the individual does not successfully complete the requirements in the time provided, the guilty plea will be entered and the conviction will be reported to the state and posted to the individual’s criminal history.
Jamie Hernan, of the Hernan Law Firm, has been successfully representing individuals in the City of Alpharetta Municipal Court for over a decade and can help those facing charges in the court (whether or not it is for their first offense). For a free consultation about a charge of shoplifting in the City of Alpharetta Municipal Court, or any other charge, call the Hernan Law Firm at (678) 275-4000.
More information about the law regarding shoplifting in Georgia
Georgia Code section 16-8-14 sets forth the elements of the offense of shoplifting and outlines certain requirements upon conviction. The offense of theft by shoplifting can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the amount that the individual is accused of stealing and the number of times they have been convicted of shoplifting. If the amount alleged to have been taken exceeds Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), the case will proceed (at least initially) as a felony. Cases involving amounts less than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) will be treated as a misdemeanor. The fourth and subsequent convictions for shoplifting (whether or not the previous convictions were felonies or misdemeanors) will be treated as a felony.
The Georgia Code (Official Code of Georgia Annotated) can be accessed without charge by clicking here.