Have You Been Charged with Theft of Livestock in Georgia?
Theft crimes are highly complicated. It is essential to have a knowledgeable Lawyer to help guide you along the way. If you or a loved one has been charged with theft by receiving, contact the Law Office of Lawson and Berry to get in touch with one of our Georgia Theft of Livestock Attorneys. Do not wait to call because it can cost you your case.
Theft of Livestock in Georgia
To understand the crime of theft of livestock in Georgia, first, we must determine what qualifies as livestock. Under O.C.G.A. §16-8-20, livestock means horses, cattle, swine, sheep, goats, rabbits, and any domestic animal produced as food for human consumption.
A person has committed theft of livestock when they unlawfully take or appropriate any livestock of another with the intention of depriving the owner of such livestock. O.C.G.A. §16-8-20(a)
In the case of Gunter v. State, two defendants were convicted of attempted theft of cattle. They tried to steal livestock from an owner but were unable to complete the crime. To determine the value of the livestock, the owner testified that the cattle were valued at $200 per head. Therefore, they were convicted of attempted felony theft of livestock. 155 Ga. App. 176.
The Penalty for Theft of Livestock in Georgia
The sentence for theft of livestock can be a misdemeanor or felony in Georgia depending on the fair market value of the animal taken. When the theft involves livestock valued at $100 or less, then the crime will be deemed a misdemeanor in Georgia. The consequences of a misdemeanor conviction in Georgia include a fine of no more than $1,000 and no more than 12 months in jail. If a defendant receives a jail term of six months or less, then the judge has the ability and discretion to allow the sentence to be served via weekend confinement or during the defendant's nonworking hours.
If the theft involves livestock with a fair market value of more than $100, then the crime will be deemed a felony. The punishment will include a prison term between one and ten years and a fine of $1,000.00.
Defenses in Georgia for Theft of Livestock
I had permission to take the livestock: If the owner permitted you to take the livestock, then you cannot be guilty of theft. However, there must be some evidence demonstrating the owner consented.
It was not livestock: If you took an animal that is not considered to be livestock under the statute, then you cannot be convicted under O.C.G.A. §16-8-20. For example, dogs, cats, and fish are not included under the law. Even though you may not be guilty of theft of livestock, you could be convicted of another Georgia Property Crime.
Lack of intent: Theft of livestock requires that the accused intend to deprive the owner of their property. If there was no intent to do that, then your Georgia Theft Attorney could use this defense along with others to try and prove your innocence or to create doubt in the jury's mind.
Innocence: If you have an alibi or witness testimony proving that you did not commit the crime, that evidence will be vital to you in court. Your Georgia Theft of Livestock Lawyer will use this evidence to help you receive an acquittal.
The property was not valued at more than $100: Whether your crime will be treated as a felony or a misdemeanor depends on the value of the livestock stolen. Therefore, it is critical to make sure they have valued the property correctly. An owner of the roperty may not testify as to his opinion of the value of the property without giving reasons or else showing that he has had an opportunity to form an accurate opinion. Ragsdale v. State, 317 S.E. 2d 288, (1984).
Call The Law Offices of Lawson and Berry to speak with one of our Georgia Theft of Livestock Lawyers and schedule a free consultation. Formulating a defense on your own can be overwhelming and seemingly impossible. Our Theft of Livestock Attorneys in Georgia are highly knowledgeable and will assist you in formulating the best possible defense for your case. We will walk you through every step of the process, and we are dedicated to being accessible to you- days, nights, weekends, and holidays while working hard on your behalf. Your Georgia Theft of Livestock Attorney will make sure you understand all of your options and advise you on the best approach to take for your case based on their many years of experience. Don't wait to contact one of our Lawyers. Your future is at stake. Do not sit around waiting for your case to resolve itself.