A woman in Fayette County woke up to a man in her kitchen at 11:15pm on January 25th. He was allegedly snacking on peanuts and cakes. He then proceeded to thank her for keeping him warm and walked out of her house. She noticed that all the lights were on in her home and a pair of muddy slippers were by the door. She also noticed that a cordless phone had been taken along with cash from her wallet. She then saw that her car was missing from her garage.
Jason Duke was arrested this week on charges of theft by taking and burglary. Let's remember that even though someone is accused of a crime, it doesn't mean that he is guilty of that crime or even that every allegation is true.
The most common type of theft in Georgia is theft by taking. According to Georgia law, “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.” O.C.G.A. §16-8-2. Punishment for theft by taking is either classified as a misdemeanor or a felony in Georgia. The outcome is dependent upon the property value. If the value of the property is $500 or less, then it is considered a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor includes a fine up to $1,000 and a sentence of up to 12 months. If the value of the property is more than $500, then it is considered a felony.
First-Degree Burglary: According to Georgia law, “when, without authority and with the intent to commit a felony or theft therein, he or she enters or remains within an occupied, unoccupied, or vacant dwelling house of another or any building, vehicle, railroad car, watercraft, aircraft, or other such structure designed for use as the dwelling of another.” O.C.G.A. §16-7-1(b). If a person enters into someone else's home without their consent or authority with the intent to commit a felony or a theft, then he is committing first degree burglary. There are some requirements to be convicted of first degree burglary. First, you have to enter into a dwelling house, building, vehicle, or other structure. This structure can be occupied or unoccupied. Second, you have to have the intent to commit a felony. Most people believe that the felony is limited to theft. However, you can be convicted of burglary if you had the intention of kidnapping, raping, or assaulting another person. You don't actually have to take anything to be convicted of first degree burglary.
Second-Degree Burglary: The difference between first degree and second degree burglary is that the structure has to be designed for use as the dwelling of another. In second degree burglary, it's the act of entering into any structure, regardless of whether it's used as a dwelling, with the intent to commit a theft or felony. According to Georgia law, "when, without authority and with the intent to commit a felony or theft therein, he or she enters or remains within an occupied, unoccupied, or vacant building, structure, vehicle, railroad car, watercraft, or aircraft." O.C.G.A. §16-7-1(c).
Both degrees of burglary are considered felonies in Georgia. If you are found guilty of first degree burglary, you will receive a sentence of one to twenty years of imprisonment.
If the allegations are true, Duke is facing some serious charges.
Here, at Lawson and Berry, we make sure that anyone who is accused of a crime is never assumed to be guilty. We will explore all potential and viable defenses. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in the state of Georgia, you need a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer. Call our offices today so that we can help craft the best defense for your case.