When many people think of theft, their minds immediately jump to shoplifting. While this is an offense covered by Georgia’s theft laws, examples of theft in the criminal justice system are far more varied. In addition to shoplifting, they include theft by deception, theft by taking, and theft of services. These examples create a far more nuanced picture of Georgia theft law that reaches beyond shoplifting.
Smyrna theft lawyers work with individuals who have been charged with all manner of theft-related crimes to work toward a strong defense tailored to the specific circumstances surrounding the case. Contact an experienced defense attorney right away to begin your case.
Theft Laws in Georgia
Theft laws in Georgia can be deceptively simple. The most obvious one, theft by taking, is defined as, the unlawful taking for an appropriation of another’s property. An example can include if someone lends their neighbor their lawnmower and they refuse to return it. This is theft by taking under the simplest definition.
A second example Smyrna theft attorneys frequently see accused is theft by deception. This involves obtaining property by any deceitful means with the creation of a false idea in the property owner’s mind.
Using an example of a lawnmower again, imagine that there is an ad online for lawnmower repairs. The owner takes their lawnmower to the address listed and leaves it there for repair, but it is not a legitimate repair place. The person with the fake ad may be charged with theft by deception.
Lastly, theft of services is listed under GA Code 16-8-5. This is when a person obtains services, accommodations, entertainment, or personal property which is available only for compensation, but never intends to pay for it. Examples can include staying in a hotel room but not paying, or hiring a band for a wedding without compensating them.
Penalties for a Theft Conviction
The penalties for theft are defined in GA Code 16-8-12. Generally speaking, the penalties become more severe as the value in goods taken increases.
- If the value exceeds $24,999.99, imprisonment for not less than two years but not more than 20 years
- If the value is between $5,000 and $24,999.99, imprisonment for not less than one year but not more than 10 years
- For values between $1,500 and $4,999.99, imprisonment for between one and five years
- For all values, less than $1,500, the crime is charged as a general misdemeanor. GA Code states that misdemeanors can result in up to one year in jail
There are exceptions to these sentencing guidelines such as in the case of theft in a breach of fiduciary duty, in a shoplifting incident, or the theft of a firearm. Theft lawyers in Smyrna interpret the statute according to their clients’ situations to determine the exact potential penalties and to formulate an effective defense.
How a Smyrna Theft Attorney Can Help
Being charged with a theft-related crime in Georgia can be a frightening experience. If a person is convicted of theft for an item valued at only a few dollars, the penalties can include jail time. This will also remain on a person’s criminal record.
Do not take any unnecessary chances. Smyrna theft lawyers work with individuals who have been accused of all types of Georgia theft crimes and work hard to defend them.
From shoplifting and burglary, to theft by deception and theft by extortion, skilled lawyers are available to help. They will be at your side every step of the way from the arraignment and bail hearings, through pre-trial motions, through a possible trial. Contact our firm today to see how we can help protect your freedom.