It is easy for most people to assume that theft crimes involve merely taking something of value from one person directly. However, theft covers a wide array of offenses. Generally, the other type of theft offenses involve stealing services or deceiving another party out of their money or valuables.

Some of the state’s most common theft crimes include forgery, fraud, shoplifting, embezzlement, burglary, and armed robbery. Depending on the crime’s underlying nature, the penalties can carry decades in prison. In theft charges a defendant should also expect to be ordered to pay restitution if convicted of the crime.

In any case, if you are being charged with the crime, you must begin building your defense immediately with a well-versed criminal attorney. A Newnan theft crimes lawyer may be your best bet at beating or mitigating the charges against you.

Defining Theft Under State Law

Under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated §16-8-1(1), disposing or withholding another party’s property, even if it’s not permanently, can lead to a theft conviction under state law.

Another person’s property may be something they have only a vested interest in and not physical possession. However, this does not include property that an accused party has some form of ownership in, whether partially or jointly with a spouse or significant other. Regardless, small details that may seem inconsequential can change the outcome of a theft case when they are appropriately addressed and raised as issues to the Newnan court by a skilled attorney.

Intent to Steal or Deprive is Necessary

In Georgia, an accused party must have had the intent to steal or deprive another person or entity of their property. The prosecutors, as in all crimes, bear the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect had the required intent.

For example, if someone only intends to borrow something from another party but forgets to return the item, they cannot be found guilty of theft unless they intended to deprive the owner of the property.  One of the most common defenses to theft crimes is focusing on that intention element of the crime and challenging the prosecutors evidence.

Penalties for Theft Crimes

The penalties for theft crimes depend on the nature of the offense and the value of the stolen property. Theft that includes property valued at or less than $500 are typically misdemeanors that can yield fines at a maximum of $1000 or jail time up to, but not exceeding, 12 months.

Generally, any theft involving property valued at $1500 or more is considered a felony. Other times, the value doesn’t matter, such as if the theft was committed in the breach of a fiduciary obligation. Without a local lawyer defending the accused individual, the charge can carry prison sentences between one to 10 years in addition to steep fines.

A Newnan Theft Crimes Attorney is Available to Defend You

Accusations of theft are severe charges for anyone regardless of the value of the property in question. Even when the legal consequences are not extreme, the associated social and professional repercussions can significantly impact your life.

Having a Newnan theft crimes lawyer in your corner can significantly improve your chances of securing a successful outcome or reduced penalties. Contact J. Ryan Brown Law, LLC, to schedule your private consultation.