Dunwoody Theft Lawyer
Stealing something may seem like a minor offense, but Georgia takes allegations of theft very seriously, and the state’s theft crimes cover a wide range of activities. The penalties for a theft conviction can be serious, especially if there is a prior criminal history of theft or the value of the property allegedly taken is significant. Even first time defendants face severe penalties for theft charges.
As such, it is highly encouraged that you seek out expert legal help to ensure that your rights are protected. Hawkins Spizman will advocate for your best interests by creating a strong defense, negotiating with the prosecution, and defending you in a trial hearing if necessary. The experienced Dunwoody theft lawyers at Hawkins Spizman have defended many clients in Georgia accused of theft and are prepared to provide you with a skilled defense for your case. To learn more, call or contact our office in Dunwoody to schedule a free consultation.
Georgia Theft Laws
Georgia theft laws encompass a wide range of criminal acts under one umbrella term. Generally speaking, Georgia defines theft as the taking or converting of another person’s property or services with the intent of depriving the lawful owner of their possession, use, or rights to that property. Theft can occur with money, goods, services, land, and anything else of value. In addition, the taking of property does not have to be permanent in order for someone to be arrested for theft. The temporary taking of another person’s property is enough to qualify as theft in Georgia, even if the stolen property is returned or disposed of by the taker.
Various Types of Theft in Georgia
There are a number of types of theft in Georgia, and the penalties a defendant faces is heavily dependent on the type of theft they allegedly committed, as well as the value of the items taken, and whether other crimes were committed in the process of the theft.
- Shoplifting—Taking items from a grocery store, convenient store, or other place of business.
- Fraud or Deception—Criminal deception committed with the purpose of financial gain.
- Theft of lost or mislaid property—
- Embezzlement or Conversion—Theft of finances from a business or other party, committed by an owner, executive, or other employee.
- Extortion—The use of threats to obtain another party’s property.
- Theft of services—Obtaining services, as opposed to tangible goods or money, through unlawful means.
- Robbery—The use of force or the threat of violence to obtain another party’s property.
- Burglary—Breaking and entering another party’s home or business to take property.
- Carjacking—The use of force to take another party’s motor vehicle.
Penalties for a Theft Conviction
The penalties for a theft conviction are determined by the value of the property taken as well as any prior history of theft convictions and can either be a misdemeanor or a felony. Theft of property valued less than $1,500 is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, fines, and restitution. However, if a person has two or more prior convictions for misdemeanor theft, the third conviction is considered a felony, but the state can charge it as either a misdemeanor or felony offense.
Theft crimes with property valued between $1,500 and $25,000 are considered “wobbler” offenses, which means that the state can either charge them as misdemeanors or felony offenses. The state often considers both the value of the stolen property and criminal history when determining how to charge these crimes. If charged as a felony, penalties include between one to five years in prison for theft between $1,500 and $5,000, and one to ten years in prison for theft between $5,000 and $25,000 along with fines, fees, and restitution.
Many theft crimes are felony offenses, and penalties can range from one to 25 years in prison, thousands of dollars in fines, a permanent criminal record, court fees, restitution, probation, and other conditions for release. Some of the most common felony theft crimes include the following:
- Theft of property over $25,000
- Theft of property involving a breach of fiduciary duty
- Theft by deception of property over $500 where the victim is 65 years old or older
- Theft of a firearm, explosive, or destructive device
- Theft by extortion
- Theft of trade secrets valued over $100
For certain theft offenses, the value of the property taken determines whether or not the offense is a misdemeanor or a felony. In the case of shoplifting, fraud, embezzlement, and theft of services (all non violent crimes), if the property taken was valued at $500 or less, the offense is a misdemeanor and penalized by up to one year and jail and a $1,000 fine.
Under Section 16-8-12, if a defendant allegedly took more than $500 from the victim, they will face a felony charge. And, for violent types of theft, including robbery, burglary, and carjacking, even if the value of the property taken was less than $500 the defendant will still face a felony charge. Other types of theft are often charged as a felony regardless of the amount taken in the following circumstances:
- Breach of fiduciary relationship;
- The theft of bomb making materials such as anhydrous ammonia;
- Theft from the government
- Theft committed with the aid of a computer; and
- Theft of a firearm.
Felony theft charges vary based on the type of crime committed. Armed robbery, for example, can result in a prison sentence between ten and 20 years, according to § 16-8-41, whereas shoplifting goods valued at $700 might result in prison sentence between one and ten years. Defendants can face other penalties, such as fines.
Contact a Dunwoody Theft Lawyer Today
Whether you are being accused of carjacking or misdemeanor shoplifting, you need an attorney. Prosecutors and courts often seek the harshest of penalties, even for first time offenders. Our Dunwoody theft lawyers here at Hawkins Spizman will build a strong defense case for you to preserve your rights and your future. Call us today at 770-685-6400 to schedule a free consultation.