The ever-growing classifications of theft crimes in Georgia can make a charge for theft a confusing and stressful ordeal. Each class of theft has a long, detailed explanation and the conditions that must apply.

While this may be overwhelming for the person charged, it can be equally overwhelming for the prosecution to prove that all the conditions apply to charge the defendant. Hiring a lawyer will be the smartest move a person accused of a theft crime can make to build a solid defense and drastically increase chances that charges are dropped or reduced.

Since sentencing may include restitution, costly fines, jail time, and a permanent criminal record, a theft charge is not to be taken lightly. An Alpharetta theft lawyer has the experience and dedication to fight on your behalf to procure the best outcome possible for your case. An experienced defense attorney can begin your defense as soon as possible.

Theft Offenses

Theft by taking may be the most common theft crime charged in Georgia. Georgia Code delineates all theft offenses and defines theft by taking as a person who illegally steals the property of another person with the goal of depriving the person of that property. This definition does not take into account how the theft happens.

Theft by taking might be a person pickpocketing a wallet or stealing a bicycle on the street, but the main point is that theft by taking means the property of another is stolen illegally with the intention of depriving that person of their property. Apart from theft by taking, there are many classes of theft offenses, but some of the most common classes of theft charged in Georgia include:

  • Theft by deception
  • Theft by conversion
  • Theft of services
  • Theft of lost or mislaid property
  • Theft of trade secrets
  • Robbery or armed robbery
  • Getting stolen property in another state
  • Smuggling stolen property into Georgia
  • Shoplifting
  • Extortion
  • Auto theft

An attorney experienced in theft crimes will know how the laws work and whether an individual is being unfairly charged. With the scope of theft offenses that could possibly be charged, it is crucial to have legal counsel with intimate knowledge of the code of law to provide the well-prepared and rigorous defense necessary to handle the case.

Misdemeanor and Felony Convictions

In many cases, theft is a misdemeanor charge, but the charge and sentencing may be elevated depending on the amount stolen. A misdemeanor theft charge is when the value of the property stolen is less than $500 and is typically punished with a $1,000 fine or a year in prison, restitution, and a probation. In some cases, a lawyer may be able to obtain diversion for their client.

A theft will be charged as a felony if the amount stolen is more than $500, and the sentencing is also greater. If convicted, the defendant could face anywhere from one to ten years in prison, in addition to fines and restitution. A repeat misdemeanor theft offense may also be elevated and charged as a felony. Just as there is wide variation in the classification of theft offenses, there is wide variation in the charges and sentencing. Certain theft offenses, like auto theft and robbery or armed robbery, are treated more severely in Georgia.

Given the scope of possible charges and sentencing, it is important to have a lawyer with experience in theft cases who can assess the situation and determine the best way to proceed to maximize the chance of a positive outcome for the defendant. In some cases, a lawyer may be able to have the charges dismissed following a diversion program. Diversion takes the case from the judicial process and allows the Defendant to complete certain tasks in exchange for a dismissal.

Working with a Theft Attorney

A theft charge and conviction could mean lasting consequences because of the criminal record attached to the individual’s name that will make finding housing and employment challenging for life.

Restitution, fines, and jail time will only cause more distress in the period preceding the conviction, and these repercussions will inevitably cause strain on relationships both familial and professional. With one criminal charge, a reputation and a life could be ruined permanently.

However, a solid legal defense could mean avoiding these consequences, especially if there is the chance that the investigation or charges were not done properly. Having a lawyer willing to fight to defend your rights will be invaluable. Contacting an Alpharetta theft lawyer to consider your case and help you build a solid defense as soon as possible.