Though most people likely believe they have a decent understanding of what theft is, not everyone realizes that criminal offenses within this category actually include a wide range of conduct that is punishable under Georgia statute.
Those convicted of any type of theft offense are at risk of severe penalties such as long periods of incarceration, costly monetary fines, restitution and more. Therefore, it is vital that anyone facing charges of this nature waste no time in securing the help of a Marietta theft lawyer. A dedicated defense attorney can help you build your case to obtain a positive outcome. En Español.
Types of Theft Crimes Recognized by Georgia Law
Theft is defined under Georgia law, which states that the offense itself is characterized by an unlawful taking, appropriation or possession of the property of another with the intention of depriving that person of said property.
Further, the legislature has articulated a list of actions able to cause substantial penalties to be imposed on those who commit them, namely:
- Theft by receiving stolen property
- Theft by way of fraud or deception
- Theft by conversion
- Theft of services
- Credit card fraud
- Mail fraud
- Money laundering
- Theft of lost or mislaid property
Categorization of Theft Crimes in Georgia
While shoplifting is treated as its own separate penalty scheme, theft involving services or property worth $1500 or less is designated as a misdemeanor. As such, fines reaching up to $1,000 may be imposed, along with a jail term not to exceed one year.
By contrast, offenses that involve property or services worth more than $1500 can be designated as felonies if the presiding judge sees fit, and sentences of 1-10 years’ incarceration may follow. Crimes involving items valued at $25,000 or higher can bring up to 20 years in prison. Other theft-related offenses able to bring felony-level punishments in Georgia include:
- Theft of a vehicle or vehicle component with a value of $100 or more
- Theft of government or bank property by an employee
- Theft involving a breach of fiduciary duty
- Theft undertaken with the aid of a computer or via a home repair or telemarketing scheme
- Theft of firearms, explosive materials or other destructive media
- Theft of anhydrous ammonia
Lasting Ramifications of Theft Convictions
There can be no doubt that the official consequences of a theft conviction, including jail time, expensive fines, costs of probationary supervision and required restitution, can all prove extremely onerous, there are other effects that must also be considered.
The creation of a criminal record involving a theft offense can trigger job losses, difficulty in securing new employment, problems passing background screenings and a whole host of societal obstacles. Because the stakes are so high for anyone facing a theft charge in Georgia, there is no substitute for a vigorous legal defense.
Asserting the Rights of Georgia Theft Defendants
Though the issuance of a theft charge is a paralyzing moment in any defendant’s life, it is necessary to bear in mind that allegations alone do not always equate to a conviction.
Prosecutors are required to prove each element of the offense at issue beyond a reasonable doubt, and a seasoned defense attorney will work diligently to undermine the state’s case and cast doubt on its evidence at every turn.
If you have been accused of this sort of crime in Georgia, now is the time to align yourself with a knowledgeable Marietta theft lawyer.