Mr. Goldberg is correct. However, you never know how the prosecutor will decide to handle the case, including adding other charges such as robbery, to get the case to a felony. Also, the value of things like jewelry are very speculative, and someone can easily claim the value is more than it is. The best thing to do on cases such as this is to be proactive and have an attorney get in front of the case to try and keep it as a misdemeanor.
The above information is general in nature. In order to obtain more specific and legal advice upon which to base your important decisions, please contact our office directly for a free phone or in person consultation. Robert M. Gardner, Jr. Hicks, Massey & Gardner, LLP firstname.lastname@example.org 53 W. Candler St. Or 718 Oak St. Winder, Ga. 30680 Gainesville, Georgia (770) 307-4899 (770) 538-0555 gadebtlaw.com hicksmasseyandgardner.com serving metro Atlanta and all of Northeast Georgia Bankruptcy, Divorce, Personal Injury, Worker’s Compensation, Medical Malpractice, Adoption, Civil and Criminal Litigation
Your family member will know at the time of arrest whether the charge is misdemeanor or felony level. This family member will benefit from having an attorney resolve the charges, and the family member should make no admissions if asked questions by the store's detectives or police.
I am an attorney. I am not your attorney unless you have signed a written contract with me and given me money. This is information for educational purposes only, and no attorney-client privilege exists.
The answer to this question depends upon (1) whether he is charged with Theft by Taking or Theft by Shoplifting and (2) how many prior convictions he has for theft. If he is charged with Theft by Taking of an item with a value less than $1500, he can be charged with a misdemeanor unless he has two prior convictions for Theft By Taking. If this theft was from a store, the felony value is much less for Theft by Shoplifting ($500). He also may be charged with a felony shoplifting if he has two prior convictions for same. Since the value of the object and the admissiblity of convictions against him are items that can be contested in court, your family member needs to seek the representation of an experience criminal defense attorney.
The detective gave you the correct information. If the alleged theft occurred after July 1, 2012, the value requirement to make a theft by taking a felony has increased. If it was a shoplifting, then the value requirements have changed as well. Once arrested, they will know whether it's a felony or a misdemeanor, but it would definitely be wise to get an attorney involved now.