DeKalb County Theft Lawyer
Various types of theft-related offenses may be charged in DeKalb County, some of which are prosecuted as misdemeanors while others are prosecuted as felonies. A conviction for even a minor theft offense can create a damaging criminal record, making it difficult to seek out employment opportunities, relocate to another area, or take out a loan from a bank. It can also result in the loss of a professional license, as theft offenses are categorized as offenses involving “moral turpitude”.
Speak with a DeKalb County theft lawyer to learn more about the legal options available to you. A dedicated attorney could help you develop the defense to the charges while keeping your best interests in mind.
Common Types of Theft Offenses
Georgia state law expressly prohibits many different varieties of theft, especially since the proliferation of credit cards and electronic transactions has increased the ways in which property may be wrongfully appropriated. Types of theft crimes often prosecuted in DeKalb County include:
- Theft of services
- Receiving stolen property
- Theft by deception
- Refund fraud
- Entering a vehicle with intent to commit theft
A DeKalb County theft attorney could examine each element of the crime charged to determine whether it is possible to disprove that element occurred. If the prosecution fails to prove every element of an offense, they may be unable to convict the individual charged.
Penalties for Theft in DeKalb County
For many theft crimes, including theft by taking, theft by deception, and theft by conversion, the applicable penalties are dependent on the value of the property that was allegedly stolen. Under Official Code of Georgia §16-8-12, many theft crimes may be treated as misdemeanors at the discretion of the trial judge, even though the maximum penalties may include multiple years of imprisonment.
If the property involved has a value of $5,000 to $25,000, then someone convicted of theft of that property could be sentenced to as much as ten years in prison. If the property is worth $1,500 to $5,000, the maximum sentence is five years.
In situations where someone has two prior convictions for theft, a subsequent conviction would be treated as a felony no matter the value of the allegedly stolen goods, and the individual involved may be sentenced to five years of imprisonment. Moreover, if the property is worth $25,000 or more, the offense is considered a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Defining Theft by Taking
The most common type of theft crime in DeKalb County is “theft by taking.” O.C.G.A. §16-8-2 defines this offense as illegally taking or appropriating the property of another person with the intent to deprive the owner of that property. The statute specifies that the manner in which the property is taken is irrelevant.
If someone lawfully has possession of the property but illegally appropriates all or part of that property with the intent to deprive the owner, that also constitutes theft by taking. Under common law, such actions would be considered embezzlement. As a defensive strategy, a theft lawyer in DeKalb County may be able to demonstrate that the person accused of taking property lacked the intent to deprive the owner.
In some jurisdictions outside Georgia, the person unlawfully taking property must intend to permanently deprive the owner of that property in order to be convicted of theft. However, O.C.G.A. §16-8-1 establishes that someone in DeKalb County may deprive the owner of the property by withholding it temporarily or permanently, or by disposing of it “so as to make it unlikely that the owner will recover it.”
Get in Touch with a DeKalb County Theft Attorney
A criminal conviction remains visible on your record after your trial is over, making it easy for someone to look into your public record and see any convictions you may have. Consequently, a conviction could make it difficult for you to live a normal life, not to mention maintain a respectable image in your community.
A DeKalb County theft lawyer, however, could work on your behalf to collect evidence and construct a strong and thorough defense. To learn how a criminal defense attorney could help in your situation, call today to set up an initial consultation.