Theft Definition: Understanding Different Types of Theft Charges in Georgia
What Is the Definition Of THEFT?
Simply stated, THEFT is the unlawful taking of the personal property of another person or business. Thievery crimes have been a part of world history and religious teachings in the Anglo-Christian world (as well as other cultures) for all recorded history. Punishment in many Middle Eastern countries historically included the thief losing a hand once convicted of taking the property of another.
Federal theft crimes and state theft crimes exist in America. Federal crimes are associated with a limited number of fact patterns, such as robbing a federally-insured bank. Additionally, 50 states and the District of Columbia have enacted and updated their misdemeanor theft laws for centuries, as well as felony theft crimes. As is done in each state across the United States, our state laws in Georgia explain “what is theft,” and whether the crime is to be categorized as a misdemeanor or felony, for punishment purposes.
In Georgia, the crime of theft under various Georgia Code provisions is aggressively prosecuted. Depending on a variety of factors in each case, a conviction may involve tough penalties including lengthy state prison sentences that have mandatory minimum prison terms. By way of example, theft of a grave marker carries not less than three (3) years in prison, under OCGA 16-8-12.
Penalty for Theft Varies By Type And Severity Of The Crime
Depending on the severity of the charge, the individual could be facing hefty fines, court-ordered restitution, long periods of jail time, or both. It is important that an individual understands these degrees of theft in order to be best informed on the possible consequences of a theft charge. More likely today than any time in history, online theft crimes (e.g., credit card theft or fraud) are skyrocketing and have become a priority for law enforcement to interdict. When a phone call comes from police, asking questions, or an arrest is made, the best bet is for you to not talk and immediately contact an experienced theft attorney near me.
What Is Theft by Deception?
An experienced criminal justice attorney will be able to help ensure that the penalties associated with a charge of “shoplifting” or theft by taking GA Code § 16-8-2 (the common law crime of larceny), theft by conversion GA, identity theft in Georgia, grand theft, or theft by deception (which is a fraud crime) are either reduced to a less serious offense or dropped entirely. Some regularly publicized theft by deception examples include Internet scams that dupe old people into sending money to a person in Ethiopia or Russia, under false pretenses. In considering lawyers near me for representation, start with legal industry lawyer ratings and awards, plus client ratings of that criminal attorney for prior criminal defense cases.
Types Of Theft Charges: Felony Or Misdemeanor Theft
Under Georgia law, the many different types of theft charges carry varying fines, potential jail sentences, plus the judge is given a wide array of other theft penalties. Theft charges are best defended with the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney Atlanta who can investigate the criminal case to ensure that all available suppression motions, constitutional challenges and defenses are asserted. One judge decided that jail was not the right punishment and put a convicted Walmart shoplifter in front of the same store where the theft occurred, to publicly shame the person.
An individual charged with a theft by taking GA criminal offense must understand the severity of his or her Georgia theft charge (felony vs misdemeanor), and comprehend how the criminal lawyer representing the client will proceed with pretrial motions, by asserting legal challenges and in defending his or her Georgia theft case. This category of crime may be deemed to be a crime of moral turpitude, in some jurisdictions. Being saddled with being a cheat that comes with this badge of dishonesty can affect multiple future opportunities in life, such as being permitted to travel to Canada.
The Crime of Theft By Taking Covers More Than Shoplifting
The first type of theft charge is where an individual is charged with theft by taking. That is filed under OCGA 16 8 2 and is simply taking somebody else’s property that does not belong to that individual. This is the taking of property with the intent to keep it, when it does not lawfully belong to that individual. Shoplifting, with Walmart being the number one place of occurrence, is one of the crimes that our shoplifting attorneys routinely handle with a high degree of success.
Theft By Deception
There is also theft by deception, which is taking somebody else’s property by deceitful means or artful practices where a person intends to keep the property. What that means as far as deceit is that a person must have some sort of intent. This includes the intent to deceive somebody such as creating a false impression and knowing that something is false.
The Crimes of Theft Of Services And Conversion
Theft of services or promises can arise from failing to perform services. For example, an individual may get a contract to remodel a bathroom, the owner produces a check for $10,000, and the individual does not follow through with the job. That is a form of theft by deception, such as credit card identity theft by use of gas pump skimmers.
This is a very common case for a lot of people utilizing the civil process, and this happens very often in remodeling or construction jobs. This is theft by conversion, or criminal conversion. Theft by conversion is where a person lawfully obtains money or property under an agreement or other legal obligation that a person is going to pay or that the property is going to be somehow given to a person in some way, shape, or form, and a person knowingly converts the property to a person’s own use.
For example, an individual is the executor of somebody’s will or an estate, and a person lawfully maintains the property because a person is holding all the property and a person takes some of the funds that should have gone to one of the people in the will. If a person keeps it to themselves, that is an example of theft by conversion. It is converting property that a person is holding. A person lawfully has custody or possession of the property, but that person is not entitled to keep or derive profits from that property.
Another example of a theft crime in GA would be theft of services under O.C.G.A. 16-8-5. This occurs where a person agrees to pay somebody but deceives that person with the intent to avoid paying for the accommodations, entertainment or other services (like a cable television connection). For example, an individual goes to repair a roof, works diligently all day, and that person does not pay the roofer. That deception and misleading of the workers, who is out his or her time, money for materials and possible cost of other laborers, would be felony theft of services under GA Code 16 8 5.
Receiving Stolen Property
Another form of theft would be theft by receiving stolen property. If a person receives property that a person knows or should have known was stolen, they can be penalized under Georgia law. The penalties (felony vs misdemeanor) depend upon the value of the item.
If the property of the theft exceeds $25,000, felony state prison time can be not less than two and no more than 20 years. If the property was worth at least $5,000 but less than $25,000, state prison felony time goes up to 10 years. If the pilfered property is valued at between $1,500 and $5,000, Georgia state prison time is not less than one and no more than five years.
One of the objectives your theft lawyer may seek to accomplish is to avoid jail time when representing a person for first time felony theft charges. If the property value was less than $1,500, it is a misdemeanor offense, which is punished by county jail time or in a municipal jail.
Armed Robbery Is a Serious Felony
Armed robbery is the same as theft except a perpetrator must use a weapon or a replica weapon in the commission of the crime. The minimum mandatory prison sentence in Georgia for the felony offense of armed robbery is not less than 10 years and not more than 20 years, where the presence of a weapon is proven by the State of Georgia. This is just another of the various Georgia theft charges that can be brought upon an individual.
If someone is facing any of these theft charges in Georgia, it is crucial that they contact an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer will be able to employ a solid defense to help assist them in either minimizing or dismissing any penalties associated with their charge.
Working With Attorneys Near Me to Defend Theft Charges
If you have been charged with theft in the State of Georgia, it is essential that you contact a theft attorney with lengthy, impeccable prior experience for larceny crimes as soon as possible. Criminal law is not a sideline business. The best criminal defense lawyers near me have been specially trained in defending these complex legal matters.
An identity theft lawyer should be highly knowledgeable of computers and internet technology. Unlike any other Georgia attorney, our law firm partner and ex-cop Cory Yager was trained at the National Computer Forensics Institute in Hoover, Alabama when he served as a police officer.
Attorney Yager is someone who has their accused client’s back and does everything he can to successfully handle each client’s case in terms of trying to refute evidence and to mitigate the potential punishment. When the case investigation reveals overwhelming evidence of guilt, his job is to negotiate a favorable sentence that the person can live with, and do his best to help that client avoid prison.
Qualified theft attorneys work to mitigate Georgia theft charges, and bring their experience in dealing with many different theft cases. The benefits of having a skilled criminal justice attorney by someone’s side includes the ability to get any money returned, as well as to keep them out of prison, and to hopefully keep the charges off the record. Plus, we offer PAYMENT PLANS for attorneys’ fees on a monthly credit card installment, after being retained.
Call our law firm’s lawyers in Atlanta 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including HOLIDAYS, and WEEKENDS. CALL NOW: 404-567-5515. The initial legal advice and the lawyer consultation is FREE, and we will meet your IN PERSON, and not just request a credit card via the initial phone call.
OUR LAWYERS WORK WEEKENDS AND HOLIDAYS
Our 4 busiest JURY TRIAL COURTS are:
Fulton County State Court
Gwinnett County State Court
With a total of four metro Atlanta locations, our criminal defense lawyers near me in Atlanta can be at your Metro Atlanta court to provide legal help and advice on short notice. These are our four law office locations:
MAIN LAW OFFICE IN SANDY SPRINGS, GEORGIA:
5590 Roswell Road
Sandy Springs, GA 30342
DOWNTOWN ATLANTA GA LOCATION:
235 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30303
MARIETTA, COBB COUNTY LOCATION:
109 Anderson Street
Marietta, GA 30060
ALPHARETTA-ROSWELL-MILTON LOCATION in North Fulton County, GA:
1001 Cambridge Square
Alpharetta, GA 30009