Theft is among the most common charge that Georgia defendants may face. Whether it's a simple case of shoplifting or a more serious allegation of burglary, these offenses often come from complicated circumstances. They frequently involve mistaken accusations or unwarranted arrests.
If you have been wrongly accused, it is important that you understand how to properly defend yourself and what to do when faced with police questioning or interrogations. As a former prosecutor, Dunwoody theft crime lawyer Ryan Schwartz understands how prosecutors and police handle these cases and how to resist their efforts.
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Theft crimes include a broad range of offenses that involve taking property with the intent to deprive someone else of it. The severity of the charge generally depends on the type of item stolen and the circumstances under which it was taken.
Common charges include:
- Shoplifting - which is a relatively minor crime involving taking property from a store or place of business.
- Robbery and burglary - which are more serious crimes that are often accompanied by violence or threats of violence and may result in physical harm to others.
- Embezzlement and identity theft - which are also crimes that are taken seriously because they involve taking large sums of money, often with the intent to avoid detection or to hide the theft from the individual whose property is being taken.
Under Georgia law, the theft of items that are worth less than $500 is considered a misdemeanor and is subject to less harsh punishment. People charged with misdemeanor theft crimes may face fines of up to $1,000 and up to 12 months in a Macon or Kennesaw jail. On the other hand, people found to have stolen property worth more than $500 will be charged with a felony. Felony theft convictions may lead to jail time of anywhere between one and 10 years, so retaining a theft crime attorney in the Dunwoody area is critical to avert or minimize these penalties.
A common way to defend against a theft crime is to show that you did not intend to take the property of someone else. In many situations, this involves an argument that the accused person thought that the property belonged to them. For instance, you may attempt to establish that you had an agreement with the owner of the property to borrow it or to take it in exchange for another service. If there was never an intent to violate the rights of another property owner, a crime cannot be committed. Other potential defenses might be intoxication or duress, two other circumstances in which you may be able to show that although they took someone else's property, they did not have the specific intent to do so.
If you have been wrongly accused of a theft offense, you may feel inclined to defend against it on your own by showing that you did not mean to do it or that you thought that the property was yours. While these explanations may serve as the basis for a legitimate defense theory, they are often complicated to prove at trial and may require testimony from witnesses, copies of written documents, and careful questioning of all those involved.
A skilled Dunwoody theft crime attorney like Ryan Schwartz can examine all of the relevant evidence and help you convincingly articulate your version of events. At Schwartz Trial Law, we assist defendants across the Atlanta metro area, as well as in Woodstock, Decatur, Lawrenceville, Gainesville, Alpharetta, and other Georgia communities.
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