Every day, our attorneys aggressively defend clients that are charged with a variety of criminal offenses in Georgia. Many of our clients face shoplifting, trespassing and burglary charges. If this has happened to you or to a loved one, you might not know what to expect as the case moves through the court system. Keep reading to learn the basics about these types of crimes and some of the available defenses.
In Georgia, shoplifting includes altering price tags as well as taking merchandise out of a store without paying for it. Any time you get an item and don’t pay the retailer’s stated price for it, it’s considered shoplifting. If the items taken are worth $300 or less, it’s a misdemeanor. There are more serious penalties if you have previous shoplifting convictions. A third offense can carry mandatory jail time.
If you’re charged with shoplifting, we carefully evaluate the circumstances of the case. We see if law enforcement properly read you your Miranda rights, and we see if the police can prove that you took the item as they allege. In Georgia, there are also pretrial intervention programs that might allow you to avoid a criminal conviction after a period of good behavior.
There are a few different ways to be found a trespasser under Georgia law. Trespassing includes destroying another person’s property, entering onto the property to do something against the law and refusing to leave someone else’s property after a warning. Trespassing is usually a misdemeanor under Georgia law.
If you’re facing a trespassing charge in Georgia, speak with a lawyer near you about the charges. They can help you evaluate the state’s evidence against you. The police may not be able to prove that you knew you weren’t welcome on the property. On the other hand, if you accidentally wander onto someone else’s property, you haven’t broken a law. If you damaged property, you might be able to defend the charges if the damages are accidental. A lawyer near you can help you examine possible defenses if you’re facing a Georgia trespassing charge.
In Georgia, burglary occurs when a person enters a building where they’re not allowed with the intent to commit a felony or steal. Burglaries in Georgia are classified into two categories- first and second degree. A first-degree burglary occurs when a person enters into a home when they don’t have permission, and they intend to commit a felony or theft in the home. A second-degree burglary occurs when a person enters any other structure planning to and for the purpose of committing a felony or theft.
First-degree burglary can land you in jail for up to twenty years. There is also a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in jail. Second-degree burglary is punishable by up to five years in prison. It also carries a mandatory minimum one-year term of incarceration.
When you ask your phone for “a lawyer near me” to advise and represent you in court can help you fully explore all available defenses to the charge of burglary, trespass or shoplifting. Having permission to enter the home is a valid defense, but proving it can be tricky if you are up against an unwilling plaintiff. In addition, the police may not be able to prove that you intended to commit a felony or a theft when you entered the property.
You might have entered the home by accident, thinking that you were somewhere else where you are welcome. Another common defense strategy is to evaluate any conversations with the police to see if they violated your rights. If they did, the court might throw out your confession. Your attorney can also help you explore diversionary, delay of sentence or suspended sentence options that might be available to you.
Tate Law Group can be that “lawyer near me” that you need to help with your defense. Call us for a friendly conversation about your case today!