Georgia Shoplifting Laws
Whenever the owner or operator of a mercantile establishment or any agent or employee of the owner or operator detains, arrests, or causes to be detained or arrested any person reasonably thought to be engaged in shoplifting and, as a result of the detention or arrest, the person so detained or arrested brings an action for false arrest or false imprisonment against the owner, operator, agent, or employee, no recovery shall be had by the plaintiff in such action where it is established by competent evidence:
(1) That the plaintiff had so conducted himself or behaved in such manner as to cause a man of reasonable prudence to believe that the plaintiff, at or immediately prior to the time of the detention or arrest, was committing the offense of shoplifting, as defined by Code Section 16-8-14; or
(2) That the manner of the detention or arrest and the length of time during which such plaintiff was detained was under all the circumstances reasonable.
(a) As used in this Code section, the term 'antishoplifting or inventory control device' means a mechanism or other device designed and operated for the purpose of detecting the removal of specially marked or tagged merchandise from a mercantile establishment or similar enclosure or from a protected area within such an enclosure.
(b) In the case of a mercantile establishment utilizing an antishoplifting or inventory control device, the automatic activation of the device as a result of a person exiting the establishment or a protected area within the establishment shall constitute reasonable cause for the detention of the person so exiting by the owner or operator of the establishment or by an agent or employee of the owner or operator. Each detention shall be made only in a reasonable manner and only for a reasonable period of time sufficient for any inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the activation of the device.
(c) This Code section shall apply only with respect to mercantile establishments in which a notice has been posted in a clear and visible manner advising patrons of the establishment that an antishoplifting or inventory control device is being utilized in the establishment.
(a) A person commits the offense of theft by shoplifting when he alone or in concert with another person, with the intent of appropriating merchandise to his own use without paying for the same or to deprive the owner of possession thereof or of the value thereof, in whole or in part, does 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.
(1) A person convicted of the offense of theft by shoplifting, as provided in subsection (a) of this Code section, when the property which was the subject of the theft is $300.00 or less in value shall be punished as for a misdemeanor; provided, however, that:
(A) Upon conviction of a second offense for shoplifting, where the first offense is either a felony or a misdemeanor, as defined by this Code section, in addition to or in lieu of any imprisonment which might be imposed, the defendant shall be fined not less than $250.00 and the fine shall not be suspended or probated;
(B) Upon conviction of a third offense for shoplifting, where the first two offenses are either felonies or misdemeanors, or a combination of a felony and a misdemeanor, as defined by this Code section, in addition to or in lieu of any fine which might be imposed, the defendant shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than 30 days or confinement in a 'special alternative incarceration-probation boot camp,' probation detention center, diversion center, or other community correctional facility of the Department of Corrections for a period of 120 days or shall be sentenced to monitored house arrest for a period of 120 days and, in addition to either such types of confinement, may be required to undergo psychological evaluation and treatment to be paid for by the defendant; and such sentence of imprisonment or confinement shall not be suspended, probated, deferred, or withheld; and
(C) Upon conviction of a fourth or subsequent offense for shoplifting, where the prior convictions are either felonies or misdemeanors, or any combination of felonies and misdemeanors, as defined by this Code section, the defendant commits a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years; and the first year of such sentence shall not be suspended, probated, deferred, or withheld.
(2) A person convicted of the offense of theft by shoplifting, as provided in subsection (a) of this Code section, when the property which was the subject of the theft exceeds $300.00 in value commits a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years.
(3) A person convicted of the offense of theft by shoplifting, as provided in subsection (a) of this Code section, when the property which was the subject of the theft is taken from three separate stores or retail establishments within one county during a period of seven days or less and when the property which was the subject of each theft exceeds $100.00 in value, commits a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years.
(c) In all cases involving theft by shoplifting, the term 'value' means the actual retail price of the property at the time and place of the offense. The unaltered price tag or other marking on property, or duly identified photographs thereof, shall be prima-facie evidence of value and ownership of the property.
(d) Subsection (b) of this Code section shall in no way affect the authority of a sentencing judge to provide for a sentence to be served on weekends or during the nonworking hours of the defendant as provided in Code Section 17-10-3, relative to punishment for misdemeanors.
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