Skilled Savannah Theft Crimes Lawyer
An Understanding and Aggressive Defense Attorney to Get You the Results You Need
Generally, a person commits theft in Georgia when they take or convert another's property or services without authorization and with the intent of depriving the owner of their lawful possession, use, or right to the property. Theft is a blanket term in Georgia’s criminal statutes, and the state’s theft laws cover a range of behavior including theft of trade secrets and mislaid or lost property.
The Ozer Law Firm, LLC is deeply familiar with the local criminal justice system. Attorney Jennifer L. Ozer has built relationships with the local prosecutors and can anticipate how the court might rule. She aims to get you the results you need and protect your rights as a defendant. Whether you have been charged with misdemeanor theft or felony theft, our firm can defend you aggressively.
Schedule a free consultation with The Ozer Law Firm, LLC to discuss your defense options in more detail.
Misdemeanor and “Wobbler” Theft
Theft offenses in Georgia are penalized based on the value of the property allegedly stolen. Someone accused of stealing property or services valued at $1,500 or less may be charged with misdemeanor theft, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and $1,000 in fines.
However, if a defendant has previously been convicted of 2 or more theft offenses, the misdemeanor becomes a felony “wobbler,” in which case the judge can either impose a misdemeanor jail sentence or a felony prison sentence.
Note that wobbler offenses are those that can be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies. Wobbler thefts include the theft of property or services valued at $1,500-$5,000, which a judge can punish by 1 or 5 years in prison, and the theft of property valued at $5,000-$25,000, which can be punishable by 1 or 10 years in prison.
Felony theft involves the theft of property worth much more than in the case of misdemeanor theft. Each type of felony theft carries its own period of incarceration:
- Theft of property or services valued at $25,000 or more – 2-20 years
- Theft of property involving a breach of a fiduciary obligation – 1-15 years
- Theft involving a breach of duties by a government or financial institution officer or employee – 1-15 years
- Theft by deception of any property worth more than $500 committed against a person aged 65 or older – 5-10 years
- Theft of any amount of anhydrous ammonia – 1-10 years
- Theft of a firearm, explosive, or destructive device – 1-10 years, 5-year minimum for a second or subsequent conviction
- Theft involving a gravesite or memorial – 1-3 years
- Theft by extortion (threat) – 1-10 years
Repeat offenders will face enhanced penalties. Upon a second or subsequent felony conviction, the defendant must serve the maximum sentence for that offense, and fourth or subsequent convictions will render the defendant ineligible for parole.
Shoplifting is a separate category of theft with its own criminal and civil penalties. Shoplifting may take a variety of forms, such as concealing merchandise in a bag with the intent to steal it or switching price tags to pay less than the original cost. Be aware that a person can be convicted of shoplifting even if they have not successfully completed the act; intent is sufficient for a charge.
The criminal penalties for shoplifting are generally at the misdemeanor level when the value of the shoplifted property is $500 or less. Shoplifting merchandise worth more than $500 is a felony punishable by 1-10 years’ incarceration.
Shop owners also have the right to a civil action for damages. Before filing a civil action in court, though, the property owner must notify the offender in writing and allow them 30 days to pay the following:
- compensatory damages for the value of the property and any other losses incurred from the offense; and
- exemplary (punitive) damages in the amount of $300 or triple the value of the loss, whichever is greater.
If the offender doesn't pay within 30 days, the property owner may seek the above damages in court.
Theft crimes are not the worst offense to be charged with, but they do carry significant jail time and other penalties if the stolen property is of high value. If you have been unfairly accused of theft or face harsh penalties, reach out to The Ozer Law Firm, LLC for legal support. We can defend you against your charges and argue for mitigated, or even dismissed, charges.
Schedule your free initial consultation online to get started today.
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