Conoscienti and Ledbetter: Your Atlanta Theft Crime Defense Lawyer

Conoscienti & Ledbetter

Trusted criminal defense lawyer

Have you been charged with theft? Get in touch with Conoscienti & Ledbetter. We have an Atlanta theft crime defense lawyer who can help you. Call us now!

Blake Ledbetter Atlanta AttorneyAuthor: J. Blake Ledbetter, Partner, Conoscienti & Ledbetter

Mr. Ledbetter specializes in civil litigation in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia, and possesses vast experience in wrongful death lawsuits. Mr. Ledbetter was recognized as a SuperLawyers Rising Star in 2018 and 2019 in the area of Civil Litigation. Published on June 27, 2023.

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Atlanta Theft Crime Defense Attorney

In Georgia, theft is committed when a person unlawfully takes the property of another with the intention to deprive them of that property.

Theft offenses occur in different forms and are prosecuted vigorously in Georgia. They may be a misdemeanor or felony based on the value of stolen property. For example, the theft of property worth more than $500 may lead to a felony conviction.

Felony theft charges carry a sentence of up to ten years in jail. They also have other consequences that may impact your personal and professional life. Working with an experienced Atlanta criminal defense lawyer who can protect your rights is essential.

At Conoscienti and Ledbetter, we are committed to providing exceptional representation and counsel to our Atlanta theft clients. We can thoroughly investigate your case and defend you against all criminal charges.

What Are Some Types of Offenses Involving Theft?

Under Georgia law, there are various forms of theft crimes, including:

  • Armed robbery (G. Code s. 16-8-41): Armed robbery is taking someone’s property using a deadly weapon or replica. In Georgia, the punishment given in armed robbery cases is death, life imprisonment, or up to twenty years imprisonment.

  • Burglary (G. Code s. 16-7-1): Burglary is entering a person’s house or dwelling place without their permission and with intent to commit a felony. A burglary offense in the first degree is a felony with a punishment of not more than twenty years imprisonment.

  • Embezzlement (G. Code s. 16-8-12): This is a form of property theft committed by a person in a position of trust. They usually have authority over the property or assets of someone else and then decide to use it without their permission for their gain. If the property’s value is below $500, the maximum penalty is up to twelve months of jail time and a $1000 fine.

  • Forgery (G. Code s. 16-9-1): Forgery is making or altering the writing provisions to defraud. First-degree forgery is a felony punishable by imprisonment between one and fifteen years.

  • Theft by conversion (G. Code s. 16-8-4): This is committed when a person lawfully obtains the funds or property of someone else and then intentionally converts the funds or property to his use in violation of the agreement or legal obligation. If the stolen property exceeds $25,000, imprisonment is between two and twenty years.

  • Mislaid property theft (G. Code s. 16-8-6): This occurs when a person takes control of lost or mislaid property for personal use without taking reasonable measures to return the property. If the property involved is worth up to $1,500, the penalty can be a maximum of 12 months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

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What Are the Penalties for Theft Crimes?

The penalties for theft crimes vary widely depending on the circumstances of the case. The value and nature of the stolen property and the means of theft can determine whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony.

Certain types of stolen property can enhance your sentence from a misdemeanor to a felony. These types of property include government property, a memorial of the dead, a firearm, and anhydrous ammonia.

If the theft offense involves property valued at $500 or less, it is a misdemeanor. The punishments for a misdemeanor are a fine of no more than $1,000 and a prison sentence of no more than a year.

If it involves stolen property valued at $500 or more, it is a felony. But, it may be charged as a misdemeanor at the judge’s discretion. Felony theft crimes carry a sentence of one to ten years in prison.

The defendant’s prior criminal conviction may also affect the severity of their punishment. A defendant with numerous past theft convictions will get more severe penalties than a first-time offender.

Theft crimes carry other consequences, such as:

  • Community service

  • Probation

  • Criminal record

  • Loss of educational opportunities

  • Loss of job opportunities

  • Loss of professional license

  • Loss of driver’s license

  • Restitution

Theft cases may come with convictions for other criminal offenses like aggravated assault or rape. Each charge will be treated separately and may lead to severe penalties. After considering these penalties and their collateral consequences, it is essential to involve a criminal defense lawyer.

What Is the Burden of Proof in Theft Case?

The standard of proof in Georgia criminal cases is beyond a reasonable doubt. However, establishing this proof can be difficult in ambiguous cases involving several parties.

To convict a defendant of theft, the prosecution must show the following:

  • The alleged victim is the legal owner of the property

  • The defendant obtained the property without the owner’s consent or kept the property longer than intended

  • The value of the property is what the prosecution claims it is

  • The defendant was in possession and control of the property

  • The defendant knew that the stolen property was in their possession but made no attempt to return the property

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    What Defenses Can Be Applied in Theft Cases?

    To change the case outcome, an Atlanta theft lawyer must only disprove one of the prosecution’s claims. Therefore, our criminal defense attorneys can present the following defenses:

    • That the victim does not own the property that was stolen

    • That the victim permitted you to keep the property until the date that it was found in your possession

    • That you have an alibi

    • That the property value is lower than what the prosecution claims

    • That you had no intention of depriving the alleged victim of the property

    • That the property was not in your possession

    • That you returned or attempted to return the property to the victim

    Our criminal defense attorney can also challenge the police reports and any physical evidence admitted in court. Sometimes, evidence obtained through illegal search and seizure can be thrown out in court. Other times, the prosecution’s witnesses may have provided false testimony, or a jury member likely committed misconduct.

    Overall, having a solid defense strategy is crucial when facing theft charges in Atlanta. A knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense lawyer will understand the nuances of these types of cases and work tirelessly to protect your rights and freedom.

    If you are facing theft charges, do not hesitate to contact an Atlanta theft crime defense lawyer who can provide expert legal representation and help you navigate the complex legal system.

    Why Do You Need an Atlanta Theft Attorney?

    We can investigate the case and the facts surrounding the theft charge. We can argue that the element of intent is absent because you had no intention of depriving the owner of their property.

    Our lawyers know about theft laws and how the criminal justice system operates. With over 40 years of combined experience, we have litigated in both state and federal court.

    We have represented clients involved in theft crimes within the Atlanta area. If you are guilty of the criminal charges brought against you, we can negotiate a lesser penalty with the prosecution. We have established relationships with prosecutors in Georgia. So we can assist you in getting the most favorable outcomes in your case.

    If you face theft crime charges in Georgia, you need lawyers to stand up for you. Contact us today, and let us help you protect your rights.

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    (404) 328-7276
    315 W Ponce de Leon Ave. Suite 400 Decatur, GA 30030

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