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Dealing With A Shoplifting Charge In Henry County

Shoplifting charges are serious.  Even if you avoid jail time, a shoplifting conviction can make it difficult or impossible to find a good job.  Most major retailers have sophisticated video systems.  Over 75% of my shoplifting clients were caught on video.

Most First-Time Shoplifters Should Pursue Pretrial Intervention

First-time Shoplifting

In Henry County, it is possible for first-time shoplifters to avoid a conviction even if there is strong evidence of guilt.  The Henry County State Court and the City Court of Stockbridge have excellent Pretrial Intervention Programs (“PTI”).  These programs are a superior alternative to first offender probation.  If you successfully complete PTI:

  • The charges against you will be dismissed
  • You will never enter a guilty plea.  This is critical because many employers ask whether you have ever pled guilty to a crime.
  • You can have access to your official criminal history restricted
  • You can get the booking records and incident reports dealing with your case restricted
  • You can ask the judge to seal the court’s record of your case
  • The fees are generally lower than you would pay if you were placed on probation

Conversely, first offender probation creates a permanent record of your case.  Even if you successfully complete first offender probation, it is difficult to get the court records sealed.  Furthermore, first offender probation involves either a guilty verdict at trial or a guilty plea, both of which damage your job prospects.

I have a proven track record of getting clients into PTI and helping them complete it.  If your case is in a court that does not have PTI, I may be able to get it transferred to one that does.

Repeat Shoplifting

In repeat shoplifting cases, the prosecution often seeks significant jail time.  Under Georgia law, a fourth shoplifting conviction is a felony that carries a mandatory, minimum sentence of one year in prison.  Two approaches are possible.  First, it is sometimes possible to beat a case at trial.  I have tried shoplifting cases and won. Second, if there is clear evidence of guilt, an aggressive program of rehabilitation can reduce the sentence the judge imposes.  The key is to review the evidence early in the process and determine what your odds are at trial.  Whether a trial or rehabilitation is appropriate is a difficult decision which depends upon 1) the quality of the state’s evidence 2) the plea offer the prosecution makes and 3) the sentence the judge would impose after a conviction at trial.  I have handled dozens of shoplifting cases in Henry County and know the behavior of the prosecutors, jurors and judges.  This knowledge will help you make good choices and get on with your life with the fewest possible consequences.

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