According to reports out of Henry County, authorities are still searching for two men that have been accused of breaking into the Henry County Water Authority.
The two suspects allegedly entered into several different vehicles sometime between 2:00am and 5:00am on April 28th. The two men then drove off in one of the county's trucks. As of right now, no one is clear as to how the two individuals got into the facility or how they got away with one of the vehicles. The truck was discovered later off of Georgia 81.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I will outline the crimes that these two men have been accused of committing.
Entering Auto in Georgia
Entering auto in Georgia is defined by Georgia Law in O.C.G.A. §16-8-18 as:
If any person shall enter any automobile or other motor vehicle with the intent to commit a theft or a felony, he shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for no less than one nor more than five years, or in the discretion of the trial judge, as for a misdemeanor.
Entering auto is generally charged as a felony with a penalty of up to five years in prison. However, there are certain situations where a judge may use his or her discretion to treat entering auto as a misdemeanor instead.
If the judge decides to charge entering auto as a misdemeanor, an individual may only face up to 12 months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. But if the judge issues a felony conviction, the consequences may be years in prison. The risk is a prison sentence, a fine, or both if guilty of a felony.
On top of that, an individual also may be ordered to pay restitution. Restitution is when a convicted individual must also financially compensate the victim in the case or the victim's family. The amount of compensation varies with each case and is set by the court.
As with any other type of criminal offense, there are situations in which individuals are improperly arrested for entering auto. There are Georgia Criminal Defenses that can apply in a situation where someone is charged incorrectly.
One of the most common defenses is joyriding. Joyriding is when someone takes another person's car for enjoyment. Ultimately, that person may intend to return the vehicle afterwards. However, joyriding is not a complete defense. Joyriding is still considered a theft crime. Most of the time, Georgia treats joyriding as a criminal trespass in Georgia. The penalty if convicted of criminal trespass entails a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
If you or a loved one has been arrested in Georgia, contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney now.