Theft in Georgia: What Are the Laws Against Theft?Written on August 1, 2014
There are a variety of “theft” statutes in Georgia that cover many scenarios. The potential penalties for theft depend on the value of the property in question. It’s important to know how these laws are written to avoid any problems or criminal charges.
The penalties for many theft charges recently changed. Under the previous Georgia law, if the value of the money or property in question was less than $500, the charge would be a misdemeanor. If the value was greater than $500, the appropriate charge would be a felony. Under the new law, the threshold changed to $1,500. The severity of the penalty for felonies now depends on the total value of the property. In other words, the more expensive it is, the more prison time will be imposed.
Theft by taking: It’s unlawful to take any property with the intention of depriving another of the property regardless of the manner in which it was taken. That’s legalese for stealing someone else’s stuff. The second part of the statute adds that if you have another person’s property lawfully, but fail to return it when you were supposed to, you can also be charged with theft by taking.
Theft by conversion: This law primarily addresses leased property. A person commits the offense of theft by conversion when having lawfully obtained property through a lease or rental agreement and then fails to return it. Think of a rental car or a piece of equipment rented from a home improvement store, for this to apply in this case.
Theft by deception: The name really says it all. Theft by deception occurs if a person intentionally creates or reinforces a false impression to obtain the property of another. Obtaining something through false documents or a fictitious identity would fall into this category. This also includes not correcting a false impression or existing fact. The intent of the accused is an important part of this equation. The prosecution must prove there was intent to deprive the owner of the property, as well as the intent to act deceptively.
Theft of services: This law applies to a person who obtains goods or services, like a restaurant tab or bar tab, and then skips out on the bill. These charges are generally misdemeanors due to the value of the services in question.
Theft by receiving stolen property: This one is fairly self-explanatory. A person commits this offense by receiving property he/she knows, or should know, was stolen. Even if a person doesn’t have direct knowledge that something is stolen, the key is what they should know. If you are buying something out of someone’s trunk, and it seems like the deal is too good to be too true, it probably is.
Some of these offenses are fairly straightforward, but others leave room for a law enforcement officer to use judgment when making an arrest. There are two sides to every story. Keep in mind that just because you are arrested and charged, it doesn’t mean you’re guilty. Mistakes, misunderstandings and errors in judgment happen all the time. If you are arrested for a theft charge, your first call should be to The Silverbach Law Group. You need a lawyer on your side who will work for you. You can reach us at 770-635-0334.