Theft by Taking Defense Lawyers serving the CSRA
Understanding Theft by Taking in Georgia
There are all sorts of ways to be charged with theft in Georgia, such as theft by shoplifting or theft by extortion. One of the most common types of theft is called theft by taking. The criminal defense attorneys at Fleming and Nelson in Augusta GA have years of experience protecting the rights of those charged with theft by taking. Below we provide information to better help you understand what the crime is and how it is viewed and handled in Georgia.
What Is Theft by Taking?
Under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated Section 16-8-2, theft by taking occurs when a person unlawfully takes or, being in lawful possession thereof, unlawfully appropriates any property of another with the intention of depriving the other person of the property, regardless of the manner in which the property is taken or appropriated. This is a fairly broad legal definition and encompasses a variety of methods and property codified under the Georgia theft by taking statute. It can include a person who withholds another person’s property permanently or temporarily. It can also involve disposing of another person’s property in a way that makes it impossible for them to recover it.
This can refer to cases such as driving away with a vehicle during a test drive, taking a friend’s laptop during a party, or removing a person’s wallet from their bag. The method by which a person takes a property is not relevant in theft by taking cases. All that needs to be proven to convict someone is that they have taken someone else’s property against that person’s will and intended to permanently deprive that person of the property.
Keep in mind that you can only be charged for theft by taking in cases where the property is something you do not own at all or that which you have no possessory rights. If a property is jointly owned, one person cannot be charged with theft for taking it. Unlike burglary and robbery, theft by taking does not involve using force or entering a building without someone’s consent to take the property.
The Legal Consequences of Theft by Taking
If you are charged with theft by taking in Augusta GA and successfully convicted in a court of law, you may face a variety of consequences. The exact penalty a person gets will be up to the discretion of the judge who may take into account the circumstances of the case, defendant’s past criminal record, whether the defendant has accepted responsibility for their actions, and any plea deal or negotiations between the prosecutor and defense attorney. The consequences also vary depending on the value of the property itself.
If the value of the property is $1500 or less, then theft by taking is charged as a misdemeanor in Georgia. Misdemeanor consequences may include a fine of up to $1,000 and/or a jail sentence of up to12 months.
Consequences are even more severe for those charged with theft by taking in Augusta GA for a theft of property the value of which is greater than $1500. In these cases, a person may be charged with felony theft by taking. Even when the property taken is not valued at more than $1500 a person may be charged with felony theft by taking if the theft involves these types of circumstances:
- The defendant has two prior convictions for theft.
- Theft that involves a theft from a cemetery, gravesite or memorial.
- Theft of a firearm, explosive, or other destructive device.
- Theft of property which is regulated metal the value of which is over $500.
- Theft of bank or customer property by a bank employee.
- Theft of unharvested commercial crops.
- Theft of property by a fiduciary in breach of a fiduciary obligation or by an officer or employee of a government or a financial institution in breach of his or her duties as such officer or employee.
- Theft of any amount of anhydrous ammonia.
A felony charge for theft by taking in Georgia can result in a prison sentence of somewhere between one year and twenty years or more.
People charged with theft by taking may also suffer consequences in the civil court. The victim of the theft may be able to sue you for monetary damages. You could end up owing them the value of the property, the cost of them bringing a lawsuit against you, and compensation for other damages caused by the theft.
How to Defend Against Theft by Taking Charges
Because there can be so many consequences of theft by taking convictions, you need to think about how you could defend against these charges. Once a person is charged with this crime, it will be time for them to discuss their case with theft by taking defense attorneys. An attorney can consult with you about the circumstances of your case and craft an argument for why you may be not guilty or why extenuating or mitigating circumstances mean you should not be punished as severely for theft by taking. Here are a few common options for theft by taking defense in Augusta GA:
- Innocence: The easiest defense is just using an alibi or witness testimony to prove you were innocent because you were not there when the property was stolen or did not commit the crime even if you were there.
- Repossession: If you can show you jointly owned the property or the property reverted back to you after the other party did not make payments, then taking the item is just repossession which is not a crime.
- Borrowing: This can be hard to prove, but showing you did not plan to permanently deprive the person of their property and had reason to assume you could take the item may be a defense.
- Lack of intent: Theft by taking occurs when you plan to permanently deprive someone else of their property, so a theft by taking defense in Augusta GA can be that you were not aware the property was not yours to take.
As you can see, Georgia has a number of different ways someone can be convicted of theft by taking and a variety of significant penalties for each of those methods of theft by taking. If you’ve been charged with any crimes related to the theft of a motor vehicle, it’s important to remember that the prosecution has to prove each element of its case beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s always a good idea to contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer in Augusta Georgia who can evaluate the evidence against you and help you identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
If you or someone you know was charged with theft by taking in Augusta GA, it is important to have talented theft by taking defense attorneys. The right lawyer can help to craft a defense that provides the best possible outcome for your situation. With our talented team of experienced attorneys, Fleming and Nelson is prepared to handle these challenging cases. Give us a call at 706-434-8770 or stop by our office to schedule an appointment today.