In Georgia, theft is considered to have taken place whenever an item is taken without permission or whenever an item is taken with permission but then converted to the individual’s own use. Additionally, there must also be intent on the part of the individual accused to deprive the owner of that item. If a person believes they have received something as a gift, but the giver actually wants it back at some point, this is not theft because there was a lack of intent to steal.
In Gwinnett County, as the area has grown rapidly into one of the most populous counties in the state, instances of theft have increased leading the District Attorney’s Office, the Police Department, and the Solicitor General’s Office all to take these offenses extremely seriously.
For this reason, if you believe you are under investigation or have been charged with a theft charge, contact a Gwinnett County theft lawyer right away to begin preparing a defense. An experienced defense attorney in Gwinnett can assist in compiling evidence and ensuring your rights are protected throughout the legal process.
The most common type of theft in Gwinnett County is theft by shoplifting. Shoplifting charges are typically a result of someone attempting to walk out of a store with an item or items they did not pay for.
Another couple common forms of theft in Gwinnett County are theft by conversion and theft by taking. Theft by taking is what a person generally considers stealing—taking something that does not belong to them. Theft by conversion is where a person has been lawfully given, or allowed to take possession of, an item for a specified use but kept it for their own purpose and did not return it to the initial owner. Although these each may seem like relatively minor offenses, each is treated seriously and warrants contact with a Gwinnett County theft lawyer.
A misdemeanor charge of theft is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Additionally, a person can be required to complete classes that are designed to help them make better choices, complete community service, and to pay restitutions, which means paying back money to whoever they stole from.
The main consequence of a felony conviction for theft, such as robbery, is that a person will have a permanent criminal record and will be excluded from voting, carrying firearms, and seeking certain types of employment. Additionally, a person can be required to spend time in jail, pay fines, and pay restitution back to the people that the items were stolen from.
The maximum possible charge for any type of theft in the State of Georgia that does not involve burglary is 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
If a person is convicted of theft, they should be aware that they now have a criminal record and this could negatively impact their life in a number of different ways. For example, when a person is applying for jobs or school after the conviction, all potential employers and admissions officers will be able to see that they have a criminal conviction. This could become a discriminating factor when they are evaluating the individual’s application.
Additionally, if the theft conviction is a felony charge, the individual will lose their right to vote, as well as the right to carry a gun. Oftentimes, people think that the only consequence of a theft conviction is just the immediate jail time, probation, or fines but it also can be far more ranging than that. For this reason, it is important to put forth the strongest defense with the help of a theft lawyer in Gwinnett County to avoid a conviction if possible.
It is important to start an investigation of a criminal case while the memories of the witnesses are still fresh. Also, many times, thefts occur in stores, and they often have video systems that only maintain the recordings for a certain period of time. Thirty days is a very common for digital data, however, some stores still use old VHS tapes, which are reused on a daily basis. As such, it is very important that you contact a Gwinnett County theft lawyer to start the investigation right away.