Theft Crimes can have life long consequences, both legally and in the real world if you are trying to obtain employment. Many potential employers will not hire someone or will have serious apprehensions about hiring someone who they know has been convicted of stealing something that does not belong to them. Below are some of the most common theft related charges that people face in Georgia. The punishment, which is listed after the crimes, depends on the value of the item and if the defendant has prior theft convictions. Contact our criminal defense attorneys in Atlanta, GA to inquire about our legal services.
Theft by Taking (OCGA 16-8-2)
A person commits the offense of theft by taking when he unlawfully takes or, being in lawful possession thereof, unlawfully appropriates any property of another with the intention of depriving him of the property, regardless of the manner in which the property is taken or appropriated.
Theft by Deception (OCGA 16-8-3)
(a) A person commits the offense of theft by deception when he obtains property by any deceitful means or artful practice with the intention of depriving the owner of the property.
(b) A person deceives if he intentionally:
(1) Creates or confirms another's impression of an existing fact or past event which is false and which the accused knows or believes to be false;
(2) Fails to correct a false impression of an existing fact or past event which he has previously created or confirmed;
(3) Prevents another from acquiring information pertinent to the disposition of the property involved;
(4) Sells or otherwise transfers or encumbers property intentionally failing to disclose a substantial and valid known lien, adverse claim, or other legal impediment to the enjoyment of the property, whether such impediment is or is not a matter of official record; or
(5) Promises performance of services which he does not intend to perform or knows will not be performed. Evidence of failure to perform standing alone shall not be sufficient to authorize a conviction under this subsection.
(c) "Deceitful means" and "artful practice" do not, however, include falsity as to matters having no pecuniary significance, or exaggeration by statements unlikely to deceive ordinary persons in the group addressed.
Theft by Conversion (OCGA 16-8-4)
(a) A person commits the offense of theft by conversion when, having lawfully obtained funds or other property of another including, but not limited to, leased or rented personal property, under an agreement or other known legal obligation to make a specified application of such funds or a specified disposition of such property, he knowingly converts the funds or property to his own use in violation of the agreement or legal obligation. This Code section applies whether the application or disposition is to be made from the funds or property of another or from the accused's own funds or property in equivalent amount when the agreement contemplates that the accused may deal with the funds or property of another as his own.
(b) When, under subsection (a) of this Code section, an officer or employee of a government or of a financial institution fails to pay on an account, upon lawful demand, from the funds or property of another held by him, he is presumed to have intended to convert the funds or property to his own use.
(c)(1) As used in this subsection, the term "personal property" means personal property having a replacement cost value greater than $100.00, excluding any late fees and penalties, and includes heavy equipment as defined in paragraph (2) of Code Section 10-1-731 and tractors and farm equipment primarily designed for use in agriculture.
(2) Any person having any personal property in such person's possession or under such person's control by virtue of a lease or rental agreement who fails to return the personal property within five days, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays excluded, after a letter demanding return of the personal property has been mailed to such person by certified or registered mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested, at such person's last known address by the owner of the personal property or by the owner's agent shall be presumed to have knowingly converted such personal property to such person's own use in violation of such lease or agreement.
Theft of Services (OCGA 16-8-5)
A person commits the offense of theft of services when by deception and with the intent to avoid payment, he knowingly obtains services, accommodations, entertainment, or the use of personal property which is available only for compensation.
Theft of Lost or Mislaid Property (OCGA 16-8-6)
A person commits the offense of theft of lost or mislaid property when he comes into control of property that he knows or learns to have been lost or mislaid and appropriates the property to his own use without first taking reasonable measures to restore the property to the owner.
With some exceptions for some specific items stolen, such as memorials of the dead, anhydrous ammonia, regulated metal products, agricultural products, or theft while purporting to be a telemarketer, here are the general guidelines for punishment:
(a) A person convicted of a violation of Code Sections 16-8-2 through 16-8-9 shall be punished as for a misdemeanor except:
(1) (A) If the property which was the subject of the theft exceeded $24,999.99 in value, by imprisonment for not less than two nor more than 20 years;
(B) If the property which was the subject of the theft was at least $5,000.00 in value but was less than $25,000.00 in value, by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years and, in the discretion of the trial judge, as for a misdemeanor;
(C) If the property which was the subject of the theft was at least $1,500.01 in value but was less than $5,000.00 in value, by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years and, in the discretion of the trial judge, as for a misdemeanor; and
(D) If the defendant has two prior convictions for a violation of Code Sections 16-8-2 through 16-8-9, upon a third conviction or subsequent conviction, such defendant shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years and, in the discretion of the trial judge, as for a misdemeanor;