Theft is a broad term used to describe crimes such as burglary, robbery, larceny, and theft, among others. No matter the type of theft that was committed, the State of Georgia imposes severe penalties for this criminal act. Speaking with an experienced Georgia theft attorney is a good first step in fighting serious charges against you.
Theft could be charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending on the value of the merchandise that was stolen. In Georgia, taking items that are valued at $300 or less constitutes a misdemeanor offense, while taking items over this amount is a felony. Aggravated circumstances, such as using force or a weapon to take property, could also lead to additional criminal charges.
You should remember that theft is only one component of a criminal charge, which may involve another type of criminal offense. For example, a shoplifter may face shoplifting charges as well as theft charges.
The penalties for theft depend largely on the circumstances of your case. A person who steals items valued at under $300 could face petty theft charges, which could result in jail time in addition to fines and probation. Stealing large amounts of money or items that are valued at more than $300 is considered grand larceny. The punishment for grand larceny includes prison time, probation, and fines. Habitual offenders are subject to increased penalties.
Aggravated theft charges carry extra penalties, and could even constitute a separate criminal charge. For example, using a gun to rob a convenience store could bring up charges related to unlawful use or possession of a firearm.
In addition to these court-imposed penalties, you will develop a criminal record upon conviction. So even if you only stole a small item from the grocery store, your criminal record will be seen every time you apply for a job, school, or loan.
If you are facing theft charges, speak with a Georgia theft attorney right away. Because a good theft attorney has had experience with cases similar to yours, they will understand which defense strategies will secure the best outcome for your case.
Theft is an all-encompassing term used to describe crimes involving burglary, property damage, trespassing, robbery and shoplifting. These crimes are taken very seriously by the state of Georgia. Being convicted of theft in any form can have far-reaching consequences, including jail time. Let’s explore each type of theft in further detail.
Theft by Shoplifting
Shoplifting is the act of taking goods from a store or business without paying for them or altering the price. Punishment varies on the severity, but if over $300 worth of merchandise was taken, this may be a felony resulting in 1-10 years of imprisonment.
Theft by Taking, Deception and Conversion
A “taking” theft is depriving someone else of their property. “Deception” is when deceitful means are used to deprive property. If someone is legally possessing property that is not theirs, but converts the property for their own use, this is theft by conversion. Theft aside from shoplifting is punished by a misdemeanor if less than $500. If more, it is a felony resulting in 1-10 years of imprisonment.
Criminal damage to property occurs when someone damages property without permission in a way that endangers lives. This is considered a felony punishable by 1-10 years in prison. Trespassing is the act of maliciously interfering with property or entering property after being notified not to, or any unlawful purpose. This is a misdemeanor (up to 1 year in jail).
Burglary and Robbery
Burglary occurs when someone enters a home without permission and intends to commit a theft or felony. Robbery is when someone steals a possession from someone else’s body (e.g. purse, wallet, jewelry, etc). These are felonies resulting in 1 to 20 years of imprisonment. Armed robbery on the other hand is punishable by 10 years of prison to death.
As you can see, a theft conviction can carry some pretty serious consequences. Whether your situation involves a minor misdemeanor or serious felony, you need to contact a qualified defense attorney before it is too late. HTW&W is known for not accepting guilty as a plea.