A criminal conviction for theft in Georgia can have serious consequences that last for the rest of your life, particularly if the conviction is for felony theft. A theft charge under Georgia law is a misdemeanor if the value of the items allegedly taken is under $500; however, if the value is over $500, the charge becomes a felony.
Different types of theft and what they mean
In its simplest form, theft is taking something that you know does not belong to you, intending to keep it. There are various types of theft. The most common type is called theft by taking and involves taking someone else’s property.
Theft by deception is making a false statement to convince someone to give you something that does not belong to you. Eating at a restaurant or staying at a hotel and then refusing to pay the bill is considered theft of services.
Theft of conversion is promising to do something with an item or piece of property and then doing something else with it. Receiving stolen property is another form of theft.
Exploring your defense options
There are many defenses to theft. All types of theft crimes require the prosecution to prove intent, meaning they must show that you knew that what you were doing was unlawful. If you truly believed the item you took or received was yours, that you paid for a service, there is no intent, and hence no crime.
Being charged with a crime such as theft can be terrifying and overwhelming, but you have rights under the law. Experienced criminal defense attorneys can explain these rights and help determine if any defenses apply to your situation.
Not every case goes to trial. If the prosecution sees that you have a potentially viable defense, they may decide not to pursue the case. Therefore, understanding the types of defenses and what they mean to your case is crucial.