Cumming Shoplifting Charges: Defending Your Case

In 2021, the City of Cumming prosecutes shoplifting crimes under Georgia law--- your citation likely has a box marked "state law" as opposed to "local ordinance." If you are arrested or given a ticket for shoplifting in Cumming, you will be given a first court date in the Cumming Municipal Court where you will be expected to answer to the charges and enter a plea before the Judge.  Read this article for the very basic, but crucial information you must know before heading into court to defend your case.

Cumming Georgia Shoplifting Prosecutions 

The Cumming Municipal Court is tough on shoplifting crimes. Kohls, Belks, Lowes, Home Depot, Target, Walmart, and other area Cumming area stores all have loss prevention officers (LPOs) that will turn your case over to Cumming or Forsyth County for prosecution. At your first court date you will be able to speak to the prosecutor about the charges, though you should proceed with caution. The prosecutor is not your lawyer and not there to help you- their goal is to have you plead guilty to the charges. Pleading guilty to shoplifting will mean that the charges either go on, or stay on your criminal record. Employers, schools, and anyone else you authorize to pull your background will be able to see this theft offense if you plead guilty in the Cumming Municipal Court.

Other Options Besides Pleading Guilty or No Contest

While it may seem the deck is stacked against you, there are other options besides pleading guilty to your shoplifting charges. Depending on the amount you are alleged to have shoplifted, you can transfer your case to the State or Superior Court of Forsyth County. Allegations of shoplifting less than $500 will transfer over to the Forsyth State Court as misdemeanor charges, while allegations of over $500 in merchandise were taken will transfer to the Forsyth Superior Court and be prosecuted as felonies. However, we caution you to not make a decision on your own about transferring your case. Once done, it cannot be undone, and this could have unintended consequences.

First Offender Plea on Shoplifting

While in Court with our clients, we have noticed many people without attorneys pleading guilty to shoplifting charges and using their first offender option under Georgia law.  This is a terrible idea.  First offender is only available to every citizen of this state ONE TIME in your whole life.  Once you've used it, it cannot be undone and you never have the ability to plead first offender again.  Because of the tremendous importance of your first offender privilege, and the fact it can be used on most felony charges, as well as other severe misdemeanors, it is mis-advised to use this plea option in Cumming's Municipal Court. There are other options available to keep your record clear, or clean it, depending on whether or not you were arrested. 

Zeliff | Watson Know the Ins and Outs of Shoplifting Defense

If you have been charged with shoplifting or theft in Cumming, Georgia, and need expert help on keeping your record clean and defending your case, call us today to setup a one-on-one consultation to discuss the facts of your case. Our lawyers defend dozens and dozens of shoplifting and theft cases in Cumming and neighboring courts every year and will put our experience to work for you. There are some first steps we advise all of our clients to take when defending shoplifting charges, and we will be glad to share this information with you so you can get started ASAP. We can be reached directly at (770) 887-3720 or by filling out the contact form on our site.

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