Georgia Criminal Defense Blog

Georgia Law on Theft Crimes

Posted by Richard Lawson | Jun 02, 2018 | 0 Comments

Most people are unaware that there are many times of theft crimes in Georgia. In fact, most Georgia Property Crimes are confusing and extremely complicated. These crimes range from taking personal property to not paying for services to threatening someone to get property from them. 

The most common types of theft in Georgia are theft by taking and theft by receiving. 

Theft by taking in Georgia is when a person 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 property is taken or appropriated.

Theft by receiving in Georgia is when a person receives, disposes of, or retains stolen property which knows or should know was stolen unless the property is received, disposed of, or retained with intent to restore it to the owner.

However, today, as a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I am going to focus on two less common types of theft crimes in Georgia to provide some explanation of the law and some clarity to these particular offenses.

Theft by Conversion in Georgia 

Georgia Law defines theft by conversion in Georgia as:

A person commits the crime 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 specific disposition of such property, he knowingly converts the funds or property to his own use in violation of the agreement or legal obligation. O.C.G.A. §16-8-4.

In order for the accused person to be convicted of theft by conversion, the prosecution must show that he or she is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by demonstrating that he or she had the intent to convert money or property for his or her own use. Evidence of intent includes the defendant's words, conduct, motive, or any other circumstances that are connected with the offense. 

Theft by Deception in Georgia

Georgia Law defines theft by deception in Georgia as:

A person commits the crime 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. O.C.G.A. §16-8-3.

There are five ways to deceive intentionally according to law.

(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 or past even 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 transfer or encumbers property intentionally failing to disclose a substantial valid known lien, adverse claim, or another legal impediment to the enjoyment of the property, whether such impediment is or is not a matter of official record.

(5) Promises performance of services, which he does not intend to perform or knows, will not be performed.

In order for the accused person to be convicted of theft by deception, the prosecution must show that he or she is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by demonstrating that he or she made false representations, knowing that they were false, with the intent to deceive the victim.

Penalty for Conviction

Both of the above-mentioned theft crimes can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the value of the money or property stolen. 

If the property stolen is valued at less than $500, then you will be charged with misdemeanor theft of lost or mislaid property. The penalty for a misdemeanor charge of theft of lost or mislaid property includes a fine of no more than $1,000 and a sentence of no more than 12 months confinement. 

If the money or property is assessed at more than $500, you will likely be facing felony charges. A felony theft charge comes with a prison term of no less than one year and no more than ten years.  

A judge actually has the discretion to deem a crime a misdemeanor, even if it the money or property converted was over $500. However, each and every judge is different. A Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney will ensure that you have the best defense possible and that you receive fair treatment throughout the trial process.

Moreover, the victim can bring a civil action against you for damages. 

Practice Note

If you or a loved one has been charged with a theft crime in Georgia, contact us today. A Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer will investigate your case and determine which Georgia Criminal Defenses best apply.

The best and most common way to defend a theft accusation in Georgia is to show that there was a lack of intent. 

With the crime of theft by conversion in Georgia, if your attorney can show that you did not intend to convert the property for yourself, then you cannot be determined guilty of the crime.

With the crime of theft by deception in Georgia, if your attorney can show that you thought the information was the truth, and that you had no intent of deceiving, then you cannot be determined guilty of the crime.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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