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M being charged with felony shoplifting although I did not leave the store. can I do that ? They have been banging on my doors: please tell me what is the best thing I can do at this point. I have been on probation for shoplifting before. I am now on not reporting and just paying the remainder of my balance

Asked over 2 years ago in Criminal Defense

Joseph’s answer: Code Section 16-8-14 states that you commit the offense of theft by shoplifting for any of the following:
(1)Conceals or takes possession of the goods or merchandise of any store or retail establishment;
(2) Alters the price tag or other price marking on goods or merchandise of any store or retail establishment;
(3) Transfers the goods or merchandise of any store or retail establishment from one container to another;
(4) Interchanges the label or price tag from one item of merchandise with a label or price tag for another item of merchandise; or
(5) Wrongfully causes the amount paid to be less than the merchant's stated price for the merchandise.

So, yes, you can be charged even if you did not leave the store. It should only be considered a felony if the merchandise in question is over $500.00 value or if this is your fourth or subsequent offense.

As far as "they have been banging on your doors", do you mean police officers? Do they have a warrant for your arrest? If so, I highly recommend retaining an attorney immediately. If they do have warrant, this can also be considered a probation violation. The longer you don't turn yourself in, the worse this situation can get.

Answered over 2 years ago.


How do I get this public intoxication/underage drinking charge expunged?: I am 19 years old and a student at SCAD. I was at a friend's house party when the cops came because of noise complaint, 20 minutes earlier my friend had gotten jumped and beat up with brass knuckles and had blood pouring down from his chest and head. I had no idea that this was going on until a friend of mine came and informed me. When I had gone outside he came at me screaming and yelling 'Why would they do this to me?'. After seeing this I had a panic attack and ran across the road to sit down and hyperventilate. I don’t do so well with blood so I became very light headed and hysterical. I was the only one outside when the cops came to investigate the party. They immediately came up to me and put me in handcuffs. I was angry and upset that my friends left me outside for so long but I was so scared that when the cops asked for all my information I gave him my birth father’s last name (not my current legal name) and my birthday with the right day and month but the year that would make me 21 instead of 19. I kept freaking out because I was in handcuffs and kept crying. I cursed a few times but wasn’t disrespectful. It was just freaking me out because they would have rather dealt with me then finding out where my friend was and if he was okay. They locked me in the car and took me to jail where I stayed for 14 hours until I had to make a deal with my bondsman to get me out of jail. Now that I am out I have tried to change my information every single day but they told me I cannot do anything until it is received at the court level and when they will process my court date. They did not breathalyze me, do a line test on me nor did they read me my Miranda rights. They also left many bruises on me of which I have pictures of. However, when I was being escorted I mentioned having one drink.
What are my chances of getting this expunged off of my record and taking a class with community service? I want to avoid probation and jail time at all costs. And should I get a lawyer or no lawyer? I overall just want to know straight out what to expect. I wasn’t doing anything egregiously wrong besides sitting on the side of a main road which I was partially inside of but would’ve moved. They literally pulled up the second I sat down. Also, will my father who works for the NCIS find out about this if I am 19?

Asked almost 3 years ago in Criminal Defense

Joseph’s answer: I agree. You do need to hire an attorney and discuss this with them.

Answered almost 3 years ago.


What is next step to getting my record restricted now that my case has been dismissed?: I was arrested in November of 2013 for a misdemeanor theft by shoplifting charge. Upon successful completion of a pretrial diversion program, my case has just recently been dismissed. The lawyer I was working with did get the outcome I hoped for but getting him to stay on top of things was like pulling teeth therefore I am no longer working with him and am not able to ask him these questions. It is to my understanding that expungement, now record restriction, has changed and the case I have should have been automatically restricted (but has not been). I also saw on the GBI's website that you must have it approved by the prosecutor now rather than filling out an application. I hate to get another lawyer if this was supposed to have been done automatically therefore I need a little guidance!

Asked almost 3 years ago in Criminal Defense

Joseph’s answer: You are correct in that it should be done automatically. However, if you completed a pretrial diversion program, it may not be done until you are 21. I would call the clerk of court and ask them.

Answered almost 3 years ago.