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 Roswell Municipal Court
The City of Roswell has a pre-trial diversion program for first time shoplifting offenders. 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 pre-trial program. As part of the program, the individual will sign a form outlining the terms of the program and meet with a probation officer who will supervise their progress (the individual is not on probation but rather just supervised by the probation office). As part of Roswell’s pre-trial diversion program, the individual charged with shoplifting will not go before the judge unless they are kicked out of the program for failing to successfully complete the requirements. Roswell requires participants to attend a class, perform community service and pay a program fee. Their case is generally reset for approximately twelve to sixteen weeks in order to allow them time to complete the requirements. 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 case will generally be placed back on the court’s calendar for continued prosecution.
Jamie Hernan, of the Hernan Law Firm, has been successfully representing individuals in the City of Roswell 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 Roswell 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 at http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/gacode/.