Under Georgia law, there are several different types of theft offenses. Each criminal offense has different elements that must be proved by the prosecutor (i.e., the state of Georgia) in order to successfully get a conviction. These offenses include theft of services, theft by shoplifting, theft by extortion, theft by conversion, and theft of lost or mislaid property. Learn more about theft by taking versus theft by deception under Georgia’s criminal law below.
What Defines Theft in Georgia?
Georgia law defines the criminal offense of theft by taking as occurring when an individual wrongfully takes – or when in lawful possession of appropriates – any property of another with the intention of depriving the true owner of the property, regardless of how the property is appropriated or taken.
On the other hand, Georgia law defines the criminal offense of theft by deception as occurring when a person obtains property by any artful practice or deceitful means with the intention of depriving the true owner of the property. Deception occurs if the person intentionally:
- Confirms or creates another’s impression of an existing past event or fact which is false and which the accused believes or knows to be false;
- Fails to correct a false impression of a past event or existing fact which he or she previously confirmed or created;
- Prevents someone else from obtaining information about the disposition of the property involved;
- Intentionally fails to disclose a valid known legal impediment, lien, or adverse claim to the enjoyment of the property – whether or not a matter of official record – when he or she sells, transfers, or encumbers property;
- Promises to perform services which he or she does not intend to perform or knows will not be performed.
What are the Penalties for Theft in Georgia?
Depending on the severity of the crime, a theft may be charged in Georgia as a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor is a low-level criminal offense punishable by a monetary fine and/or up to one year of jail time. A felony, on the other hand, is a more serious criminal offense punishable by a monetary fine and/or more than one year of imprisonment.
The level of the criminal charge and resulting punishment for theft in Georgia is dependent upon the value of the property taken. For example, if the value of the property stolen is less than $500, then the accused will be charged with a misdemeanor offense. On the other hand, if the value of the property stolen is more than $500, the accused will be charged with a felony offense. There are also other factors that are considered under Georgia criminal law when it comes to theft that can affect the category of crime and resulting punishment. This includes whether or not the person stealing was a fiduciary and breached his or her fiduciary obligations, an officer or employee of the government or a financial institution who breached his or her duties, and if the accused stole a vehicle or a component of a vehicle exceeding $100 in value, among other factors.
Criminal Defense Help in Georgia
At Moffitt Law, LLC, our experienced Georgia criminal defense attorneys have the experience and knowledge to handle the charges placed against you. Our attorneys can handle all aspects of criminal law and will fight to protect your rights. Contact us today to schedule your initial, confidential, case evaluation.