Walton County theft lawyers work with clients every day to better understand the nature of their theft charges and how to form a defense in court. To form a strong defense, it is important to understand how the State of Georgia defines theft and what the potential penalties are. Contact a skilled criminal attorney who can help you protect your rights and reputation.

Theft Defined in Georgia

Theft by taking, as when a person unlawfully takes the property of another with the intent to deprive another person of its use. Some individuals may be charged with other forms of theft including shoplifting, receiving stolen property, and theft by deception.

  • Shoplifting: This is defined similarly to theft in that a person must take an action designed to deprive the store of the property without paying. However, merely attempting to do this is sufficient to bring charges under the theft law. Examples of this intent include hiding the goods under a coat, altering price tags, and transferring merchandise from one store to another. By this definition, a person can be charged with theft by shoplifting under GA Code 16-8-14 without actually removing items from a store.
  • Receiving Stolen Property: GA Code 16-8-7 makes it illegal to receive stolen property when they know or should know that the item was stolen. An important aspect of this charge is the idea of intent. To be convicted of this charge, the prosecutor must demonstrate that a defendant knew, or should have known, that the item was stolen.
  • Theft by Deception: The involves theft by misleading another person. For example, a person may offer to fix someone’s broken lawnmower by placing an advertisement for repair services, but never actually fixes the equipment. If they do not return the mower, they may be charged with theft by deception. GA Code 16-8-3.

An important aspect of many theft cases is the idea of intent. If the prosecutor cannot demonstrate that a person intended to steal the item, it will be very difficult to obtain a conviction.

Potential Penalties for Theft

Most theft is considered to be a misdemeanor under Georgia Law according to GA Code 17-10-3. This results in a maximum of one year in jail with a potential fine of up to $1,000. If the property alleged to have been stolen is valued between $1,500.01 and $5,000, the jail term can be as little as one year with a maximum of five years. For a value between $5,000.01 and $25,000, the maximum term can be as high as 10 years. For values above $24,999.99, a minimum term of two years with a maximum of 20 years will be imposed.

Walton County Theft lawyers have seen that shoplifting is more strictly dealt with. The exact penalties are numerous, but any valuation of over $500.00 is considered to be a felony with a minimum term of one year with a maximum term of 10 years. Repeated convictions of shoplifting carry mandatory minimum penalties of 30 days in jail and possible psychological examinations. A fourth shoplifting offense is a felony.

Hiring a Lawyer

The penalties for theft can be severe. Whether it is a person’s first entrance into the criminal justice system, or they are facing a subsequent charge of shoplifting, Walton County theft lawyers are here to help. Attorneys can examine every aspect of a potential clients’ case. From dissecting the evidence to questioning witnesses, to examining any surveillance footage, we work with clients to strive for the best results possible in every case. A conviction for theft can lead to jail time and significant fines. Do not take any unnecessary chances, call Walton County theft attorneys today.