Georgia Theft Lawyer
Although there are a number of different ways to commit a theft-related offense in Georgia, the most common involves unlawfully taking someone else’s property (without his or her consent), with the intent of permanently depriving him or her of that property. The penalties for this offense are severe, even for first time offenders, so if you have been accused of theft, you should speak with an experienced Georgia theft lawyer about crafting a strong defense as soon as possible.
Types of Theft Offenses
While theft by taking is one of the most commonly charged theft offenses in Georgia, it is by no means the only one, as Georgia law actually provides for a number of different types of theft, including:
- Theft by deception, which typically involves allegations of fraud;
- Theft by conversion, which occurs when a person is lawfully given possession of someone else’s property, but converts that property into funds for his or her own use without permission;
- Theft of services, which occurs when a person obtains valuable services through force, deception, or threats without compensating the provider;
- Theft by shoplifting, which occurs when a person takes merchandise from a retail establishment without permission, alters the price tags on merchandise, or wrongfully pays less than the price of an item;
- Theft by extortion, which involves obtaining someone else’s property through threats; and
- Theft of lost property, which involves keeping property that has been mislaid without permission.
Being convicted of these kinds of theft-related crimes comes with varying penalties, but defendants can generally expect to pay hefty fines and even spend some time in jail.
Theft as a Misdemeanor or Felony Crime
Whether a theft offense is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depends primarily on the value of the property that was allegedly taken. For instance, unlawfully taking property that is valued at $500 or less is punishable as a misdemeanor in Georgia, which means that defendants could face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. If an offense involves property valued at more than $500, however, a defendant will usually be charged with a felony, although judges do have discretion to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor. Theft will be punishable as a felony, however, when the crime involved:
- The breach of a fiduciary relationship;
- The theft of anhydrous ammonia;
- The theft of government or bank property by an employee;
- The theft of a gravesite or cemetery decoration;
- The theft of a vehicle;
- The theft of a vehicle part worth more than $100;
- Theft committed while using a computer; or
- The theft of a firearm, destructive device, or explosive.
If charged as a felony, a defendant could face imprisonment for between one and ten years.
Call or Send Our Legal Team an Online Message Today
If you have been accused of involvement in a theft-related offense, you could be facing serious penalties, including jail time, fines, probation, and a permanent criminal record. To learn more about your charges, including what types of defenses may be available to you, please call the experienced Georgia theft lawyers at Hawkins Spizman at (770) 209-2310 today.