I was caught shoplifting in Atlanta

Question: I was arrested for shoplifting in Atlanta. I still can't believe that I'm charged with a felony. I really didn't think what I tried to take was that expensive. I actually thought I was taking something that wasn't too costly.

I was in a shoe store in Atlanta, a place that sells sneakers. I didn't want to spend a whole lot of money because I'm not too rich. So I put on some sneakers and walked out. I was thinking that when I made some money I'd come back and pay. But just as I left the store, someone from store security chased after me and I stopped. I went with them back into the store and they called the Atlanta police department. I think I admitted everything.

I know that some sneakers can be expensive and I know that some are very collectible, but it wasn't like I was trying to steal some Yeezy shoes or rare Jordans or the Louis Vuitton Kanye West shoes.

So I'm pretty worried that now I'm facing a felony shoplifting charge because they say the shoes sell for over $600.00. I didn't think they were that much money. What can I do for this stealing charge?

B.K. in Buckhead, GA

Answer: It doesn't matter what you think the product, in this case sneakers, is worth. The shoplifting charge, either felony or misdemeanor, is determined by the retail price of the product.

If the retail price of the merchandise is greater than $500.00, then it is charged under Georgia law as a felony, and the case will be sent to Fulton County superior court (because the store is located in Fulton County). If the price is less than $500.00, then it is charged as a misdemeanor and can be handled in the Atlanta Municipal Court or in Fulton County State Court.

Your question is one that we, as shoplifting attorneys, encounter regularly. Sometimes people don't understand the values involved with things like clothing, jewelry, household goods, sneakers and shoes.

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