What’s The Difference Between Theft And Robbery Charges?
In Georgia, theft and robbery are two distinct charges with very different definitions. It is important to understand how each crime is defined by the law and what the possible consequences for a conviction may be.
Facing theft or robbery charges can understandably create anxiety and stress given all the potential consequences associated with being convicted of either crime. That is why you might want to discuss your case with an experienced lawyer. Our Dunwoody theft lawyers at Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers represent individuals facing theft and robbery charges throughout the state of Georgia.
Theft in Georgia
In Georgia, theft is commonly defined as taking something of value from another without their consent (Georgia Code § 16-8-2). The value of the item stolen can be determined by its cost or its usefulness. However, it must have some form of value. Theft can also include fraud, embezzlement, and misappropriation of funds.
Under Georgia law, a conviction for theft can result in a time in prison ranging from a few months to several years depending on the severity of the crime committed. Additionally, individuals who are convicted of theft may be subject to fines and restitution payments as part of their sentence.
Robbery in Georgia
Robbery is considered a more serious charge than theft in Georgia because it involves force or threats of force during the commission of the crime. To be charged with robbery, an individual must use violence or intimidation against another person while stealing something from them. This includes not just physical violence but also verbal threats such as menacing language and intimidation tactics that might cause someone else to fear for their safety.
A conviction for robbery could result in one year of imprisonment to life in prison depending on the severity of the crime committed. Additionally, individuals convicted of robbery may be ordered to pay hefty fines as well as restitution payments to victims if applicable.
Possible Defenses to Theft & Robbery Charges
There are several possible defenses to theft and robbery charges. However, these two defenses may be more effective than others depending on the circumstances of your offense:
- Theft/robbery by mistake. One defense available to individuals charged with theft or robbery is that they were mistaken as to who owned the property they allegedly took or robbed. This could be because they believed that they had a right to take possession of the property based on what was told to them by another person. Additionally, this defense may also apply if someone genuinely misunderstands their ownership rights over the property in question.
- Lack of intent. Another possible defense is that the individual did not intend to commit a crime. For instance, if someone takes an item from a store without paying for it but later returns it or offers restitution, then this would not necessarily constitute theft because there was no criminal intent initially present at the time of taking the item. Similarly, if someone takes something by mistake (e.g., leaving a store with an item still in their basket) and then returns it immediately after realizing their mistake, then this would also likely not qualify as theft since there was no criminal intent present at any point during this interaction.
An experienced criminal lawyer can help you determine which defense strategy will best fit your case and provide advice on how best to proceed with your legal matter.
Consult with a Theft Lawyer at Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers
It is important to understand that theft and robbery charges can carry significant consequences if you are convicted. However, there are defenses available if you find yourself facing any of these two charges in Georgia, which is why you might want to discuss your case with a lawyer.
Do not hesitate to contact our lawyers at Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers if you find yourself facing either a theft or robbery charge so that you can get started building your defense right away. We handle theft and robbery cases throughout Georgia, including Dunwoody, Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Cobb County, Gwinnett County, and Fulton County. Call 770-685-6400 to get a free case evaluation.