You may have taken groceries from the Piggly Wiggly without paying, told someone who found a wallet that it was yours, or agreed to store a friend’s computer and kept it. In any of these cases, you could be charged with theft in Georgia. Although minor theft charges may not net you prison time, more significant theft charges could, and any conviction will, at the very least, tarnish your reputation.

You may have a valid defense or a compelling reason for what happened. At J. Ryan Brown Law, we believe one mistake should not ruin your life. You are innocent until proven guilty and have the right to an attorney who will tirelessly defend you. Call our firm if you were arrested and charged with taking something that did not belong to you. Our Palmetto theft lawyer can advocate on your behalf.

What is Theft in Georgia?

Theft in Georgia is broadly defined as taking property belonging to someone else to use for one’s benefit. There are different ways for people to commit theft, the most common being:

  • Theft by taking, the most common form of theft, is any appropriation with the intent to keep what is taken, which could entail a candy bar from a convenience store to embezzling the company payroll
  • Theft by conversion is lawfully obtaining or borrowing property and then depriving the rightful owner by keeping it
  • Theft by deception is obtaining property fraudulently, such as pretending to collect for a charity and keeping the money
  • Theft of services is the use of deception to obtain services, such as dining at a restaurant and skipping out on the bill
  • Theft by receiving stolen goods from someone else is when the recipient knew or should have known the goods were stolen

Theft convictions can be challenging for a prosecutor to prove because there is an element of intent to deprive another of their property. If the accused did not intend to deprive anyone, a skilled Palmetto attorney can negotiate a deal in which the value of what was taken is repaid, and no theft charges are filed.

Penalties for Theft Convictions

Generally, in Georgia, theft is a misdemeanor until the value of the property allegedly taken exceeds $500. If the value exceeds this amount, then the state can charge the taking as a felony. If the theft is by deception, of services, or by receiving stolen goods, the property must exceed $1,500 for it to be charged as a felony.

The punishment for felony theft in Georgia can vary depending on the value of property that is allged to have been stolen.

In addition to other possible punishments such as fines, probation, repayment, and community service, punishment extends into daily life in ways those accused may not realize. As a Palmetto attorney can further explain, a felony conviction severely limits employment and housing opportunities, and convicted parties will not be permitted to own guns or vote. Friends and family could also view a convicted party as untrustworthy, which can taint relationships forever.

Defenses to Theft Charges

Those accused have a right to their day in court to offer a defense and refute what the prosecutor says. A defense attorney will attack the elements of the crime. Or, counsel for the defense may present mitigation evidence, for instance the accused may not have taken the property for personal use or gain, but to help a hungry, sick mother who needed food and medicine. The accused may be retrieving property they own, or there was no way they could have known the property they received was stolen. If charged as a felony, proof might show the goods were valued below $500. An experienced theft attorney serving Palmetto will explore every plausible defense to fight these charges.

A Palmetto Theft Attorney Will Defend Your Rights

Theft is a simple word with broad connotations. It accuses you of intent to take what does not belong to you. You may not have intended to deprive someone of their property, or you may have taken property to help someone in need.

For every theft charge, there is an explanation and a defense. We can listen to one and provide the other, from negotiating with the prosecutor to litigating before a jury. Contact a Palmetto theft lawyer from J. Ryan Brown Law to begin building your defense today.

J. Ryan Brown Law, LLC

J. Ryan Brown Law, LLC