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I got arrested for shoplifting at the mall

Question: I was at the Perimeter Mall and I got arrested for shoplifting. I was charged after I walked out of the mall with a shirt. In the parking lot I was confronted by mall security and I went back into the mall with them. I got arrested when the police came.

I have bought a lot of clothes over the years at this store and I guess I just forgot to pay for the shirt. I would have paid but I was talking on my cell phone with work and then my husband called and I walked out.

Unfortunately this isn't my first shoplifting arrest. I was arrested for shoplifting in Florida about 3 years ago when I was on vacation, and I got arrested for shoplifting in Alpharetta about 10 years ago. I really don't want this charge causing me serious problems because I work in management at a bank and I know they won't like it if they find out I got arrested, particularly for stealing.

Besides my two other shoplifting arrests, I have not been arrested in the past. But now I'm very worried and need a consultation with a lawyer.

T.P. in Dunwoody, GA

Answer: The first thing a shoplifting lawyer will want to know is the value of the shirt. If the garment is valued less than $500.00, then you should be charged with a misdemeanor; if it's valued at more than $500.00 then it is a felony under Georgia law.

We have helped many clients who have been charged with shoplifting. Obviously, from a defense lawyer perspective, we'd rather it be a first-time charge. But we will see what the prosecutors discover when they pull up your record.

In any event, we need to speak with the solicitor immediately to try and minimize this charge as much as possible for you. There may be diversion programs or other possibilities that we can utilize to help you after we investigate the facts of what happened.

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