The expanding categories of theft mean there are more ways for a person to get caught and charged with such a criminal offense. It also means there are additional ways for a person to get wrongly accused of committing theft and could be unfairly punished as a result.
Theft charges can also be tricky because a person must meet all of the required conditions in order to be convicted. They cannot be convicted of a theft charge unless the prosecution is able to prove all of the elements of the crime exist beyond a reasonable doubt.
This is why retaining the services of an experienced Georgia theft attorney is crucial to the success of your case if you have been charged with theft. A defense attorney in Georgia will know what defenses are the most effective for your particular theft charge and will be able to passionately advocate for them while in court.
Classifications of Theft
There are many forms of theft that occur in Georgia, but the most common form involves theft by taking. This is where a person takes or appropriates another person’s property in direct violation of the law, with the intention of stripping the owner of the property and using it for their own gain.
There are many other types of theft under Georgia law, but the other most prominent forms are theft by deception and theft by shoplifting. These categories of theft are the most recognizable and are committed most often by convicted individuals. A knowledgeable Georgia theft attorney can assist an individual in understanding the specifics of their charge.
Georgia law is also clear about the classifications, sentences, and penalties for theft. When a theft deals with stolen property valued at $500 or less, the crime will be punished as a misdemeanor and can include a fine of no more than $1,000 and a jail sentence of no more than 12 months.
If the shoplifting involves stolen property valued at over $500, the crime can be punished as a felony, depending upon the discretion of the judge. A fourth shoplifting conviction is a felony and mandates one year in jail. If the theft is charged as a felony, then a convicted person could face between one and ten years in jail and will likely experience even more difficulty when they return home after completing their sentence. Due to the sometimes severe nature of the charge, the aid of an experienced theft attorney in Georgia is invaluable.
Building a Defense
A person charged with a theft crime can often be overwhelmed by their situation and the amount of information they have to learn. There are many different kinds of theft charges, and it can be difficult for some people to understand why they were placed in one category over the other. The experience of a lawyer is essential in defending these types of charges. An attorney can assist in building a strong defense against the prosecution’s case.
A lawyer can find some mitigating evidence. A lawyer can negotiate with the person who had the item stolen. They may be able to negotiate with the person who had the item stolen for restitution, where no charges will ever be brought.
Contacting an Attorney
If you have received a theft charge and are overwhelmed by the legal process, contact a Georgia theft lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can review the relevant information and provide you with clear directives intended to sharpen your focus and let you know you are in capable hands.
During the initial interview, the lawyer will want to know if the person can give the items back. They will want to know whether you have the resources to pay the person back otherwise, if you have an income, or if you could work out a payment plan that would be able to get the money back to the person or the items back that were stolen. A skilled attorney would be able to try and negotiate a plan to get the money paid back or negotiate a plan to put the person on probation, and try their best to mitigate the situation from the beginning.