A Guide To Property Crimes Under Georgia Law
Our Columbus Georgia criminal defense lawyers handle the following Georgia property crimes:
In most states, there are two broad, informal classifications of major crimes. There are the violent crimes against people and there are property crimes. While the adjudication and penalties for violent crimes are fairly straightforward, when it comes to property crimes, the legal pendulum can swing widely. Under current Georgia state law, there are different penalties for different property crimes, though almost all property crime involves theft, vandalism or destruction of property.
Here is a rundown of the most common property crimes, and their penalties under Georgia law.
Petty theft is when an offender steals an item or a piece of another person’s property with a relatively minor amount of inherent value. In the state of Georgia, any property theft of items that have a value less than $500 constitutes petty theft. There are mandatory sentencing requirements for petty theft, especially for repeat offenders. For first time petty theft, an offender will generally pay a fine. For a second petty theft offense, an offender will pay a fine of at least $250. For a third offense, an offender will be sentenced to a mandatory 30 days in jail, on top of a fine.
Under Georgia law, grand theft is when an offender steals any item or piece of another’s property with an inherent value of $500 or more. The most common form of grand theft is grand theft auto, the theft of automobiles. Generally grand theft carries with it the classification of a felony, and prison time.
Larceny is when an offender steals or removes a tangible item from another person, with the explicit intention of depriving the owner of the item from its use permanently. This can include pieces of property such as cars and electronics, but it can also involve real estate, business assets and the like. Larceny will often involve a dispute as to the true identity of the property’s owner. Larceny, life theft, is delineated in terms of either “petty” or “grand.”
Shoplifting is when an offender steals goods from a retail store, either by removing it covertly or by switching price tags or altering the merchandise in some other fashion, to acquire it for less than its full retail value. Though most cases of shoplifting are misdemeanors (stealing less than $300 worth of merchandise), there are many cases that are felonies. Offenders suspected of shoplifting can be detained and questioned by personnel of the store in which the crime takes place, but in most cases, they are advised to wait until police arrive to conduct a proper investigation.
Arson is one of the most serious forms of property crime. It is when an offender intentionally sets fire to the property of another person. Depending upon the severity of the crime, and whether or not anyone was injured, arson can either be charged as a first, second or third degree crime. Arson is always charged as a felony.
Burglary is when an offender breaks into and enters the home, car or work space of another person to steal property or commit another type of crime. In most cases, burglary is a charge added in conjunction with other charges, such as theft, arson or larceny.
If you are suspected of or charged with a propertyt crime, then contact a Columbus Georgia property crime defense lawyer now.