Theft crimes in Georgia are typically divided into categories based on the ways in which a theft occurs and the value of the property involved. Property values that are higher can result in more serious charges that have more serious consequences. In most theft-related cases, property values that are up to $500 lead to misdemeanor charges that can result in up to a year in jail plus fines. Property values that are $500 or more can lead to a felony that results in 1-to-10 years imprisonment plus fines.
The theft of automobiles is considered to be a particularly serious matter in this state. Charges and penalties are slightly different for the theft of vehicles as a result.
In Georgia, automotive theft is generally classified as theft by taking, theft by receiving stolen property and hijacking a motor vehicle.
Theft by taking involves unlawfully taking or being in possession of the property of another person with the intention of depriving the owner of the property.
- Misdemeanor: If the value of the vehicle stolen is $1,500 or less, the offender can face up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
- Felony: If the value of the vehicle stolen is more than $1,500, the offender can face imprisonment for 1-to-10 years.
Theft by receiving stolen property involves knowingly and intentionally receiving, disposing of or retaining stolen property, including automobiles, with the knowledge that it was stolen and the intent to deprive the owner of the property.
- Misdemeanor: If the value of the stolen vehicle received is $1,500 or less, the offender can face up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
- Felony: If the value of the stolen vehicle received is more than $1,500, the offender can face imprisonment for 1-to-10 years.
Hijacking a motor vehicle involves using force, violence or intimidation to take control of a motor vehicle from another person while they are inside the vehicle or attempting or conspiring to do so.
- Hijacking a Motor Vehicle in the Second Degree: Offenders can face imprisonment for a period of 5-to-20 years.
- Hijacking a Motor Vehicle in the First Degree: If a firearm or weapon is used during the commission of the offense or the offender causes serious bodily injury to the victim, the offender can face imprisonment for a period of 10-to-20 years.
All theft charges are serious crimes because a conviction can lead to problems for you in the future. Determine what options you have for a defense, including factors like simply failing to return something borrowed or being unaware you received something stolen. Working with an experienced legal professional to craft a solid defense strategy is an important first step forward if you’re facing charges.