Georgia Criminal Defense Blog

Cobb County Mother Accused of Shoplifting and Initiating Police Chase

Posted by Richard Lawson | Apr 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

Reports out of Cobb County accuse a 28-year-old mother of several different charges including fleeing or attempting to elude police and shoplifting.

According to reports, employees of a Belk store on Dallas Highway called police after they suspected that Medley Imani was stealing upwards of $2,000 worth of clothing from the department store. Police arrived in time to see Imani leaving the parking lot in her vehicle with the allegedly stolen items. This led to a police chase with several traffic violations. However, it ended with Imani's arrest.

As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I will outline the law behind shoplifting in today's post. Most people assume that shoplifting and crimes like, theft by taking in Georgia, are the same crime. While, yes, most theft crimes are very similar, there are slight differences that are important to recognize and understand.

Shoplifting in Georgia

Shoplifting in Georgia is defined in O.C.G.A. § 16-8-14 as:

Performing certain actions with the intent of taking merchandise without paying for it or depriving the owner of possession of the merchandise or its value.

In Georgia, the most commonly reported type of shoplifting is when one walks out of a store without paying for the items. However, there are many other types of shoplifting. The law defining shoplifting outlines the following ways:

  • Concealing or taking possession of merchandise of any store
  • Altering price tags
  • Switching price tags
  • Wrongfully causing the amount to be paid to be lower than it is supposed to
  • Or moving merchandise into a different container.

This is where shoplifting is very different from other theft crimes. The state of Georgia has very specific penalties for shoplifting. It is similar to other theft crimes in that it can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony based upon the value of the items stolen, as well as any aggravating circumstances of the crime. Also, repeat offenders of shoplifting will face harsher penalties.



Shoplifting property with a total value of $500 or less

Classified as a misdemeanor and a fine up to $1,000.00 and/or up to one year in jail

A 2nd conviction for Shoplifting property with a total value of $500 or less. (The first conviction could either be a felony or misdemeanor)

Classified as a misdemeanor with a mandatory minimum fine of $500 and possibly a prison sentence

Shoplifting property with two prior convictions of shoplifting (either misdemeanor or felony) with a value of $500 or less

Classified as a misdemeanor. The Court will impose a fine and the accused will be punished by a prison term for no less than 30 days or confinement in a probation detention center, diversion program, or another program for a period of 120 days or shall be sentenced to monitored house arrest for a period of 120 days, and could be required to undergo psychological evaluation

Shoplifting property valued at less than $500 with three prior convictions of shoplifting (either misdemeanor or felony)

Classified as a felony with fines at the court discretion. Jail time between one and ten years with the first year mandatory

Shoplifting property with a total value of more than $500

Classified as a felony with fines at the court's discretion and between one to ten years in jail

Shoplifting property from three separate stores within one county during a period of seven days or less, and property from each store exceeds $100 in value

Classified as a felony with fines at the court's discretion and between one to ten years in jail.

Practice Note

As you can see from the table above, shoplifting charges should not be taken lightly. Theft at any level is a serious crime and can ruin a person's reputation and livelihood.

If you or a loved one has been accused of a theft crime in Georgia, contact our offices today. We can help walk you through all of your options and determine which course of action is the best for you to take. Contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney now.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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