Theft by taking is one of the most common of all the theft crimes charged by prosecutors. Theft by taking can be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the value of the alleged property taken. If the property is valued at under $500 then the charge is a misdemeanor. If it is $500 or more the charge is a felony. It is important to know that the government can add up the value of multiple items stolen. In one case prosecutors added the values of items taken over a 35 months period of time!
Theft, simply put, occurs when someone takes property that doesn't belong to him or her. How the property is taken is irrelevant. Simply picking up property from somewhere that doesn't belong to you can result in being charged with theft by taking. Ryan, however, has represented clients charged in more complex embezzlement type cases involving tens-of-thousands of dollars.
The Law - O.C.G.A. § 16-8-2 - Theft by Taking
A person commits the offense of theft by taking when he unlawfully takes or, being in lawful possession thereof, unlawfully appropriates any property of another with the intention of depriving him of the property, regardless of the manner in which the property is taken or appropriated.
Penalties - How Much Time Can I Get for Theft by Taking?
The penalties for theft by taking are generally dependent on the alleged value of the stolen property. Theft by taking starts as a misdemeanor (basically a standard theft of property valued at $1,500 or less), but can increase to a felony depending on the value or your criminal history. Below are the ways that you can be charged with felony theft by taking along with the associated range of punishment.
Felony Based on Value
- $25,000 or more - two to twenty years in prison (sentence can be suspended, probated, etc.).
- $5,000 - $24,999 - one to ten years, or, if you can convince the judge, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in county jail (sentence can be suspended, probated, etc.).
- $1,500.01 - $4,000 - one to five years, or, if you can convince the judge, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in county jail (sentence can be suspended, probated, etc.).
Felony Based on Other Conduct
- Three or More Convictions for Theft by Taking - one to five years, or, if you can convince the judge, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in county jail.
- Anhydrous Ammonia is the Property Stolen - one to ten years.
- Breach of a Fiduciary Obligation or by an Officer or Employee of a Government or a Financial Institution - one to fifteen years in prison (sentence can be suspended, probated, etc.).
- Stealing from a Memorial to the Dead - one to three years (sentence can be suspended, probated, etc.).
- Stealing from United States or Confederate Soldier's Memorial -
- If property is $1,000 or less, then one to three years.
- If property is more than $1,000, then three to five years.
- Theft Occurs during Telemarketing - one to ten years, or, in the discretion of the trial judge, as for a misdemeanor; but if it is your second or subsequent offense for this specific offense then the punishment range is one to twenty.
- Destructive Device, Firearm, Explosive - one to ten years, but if it is a second conviction for this offense, then five to twenty years.
- Crimes against the Elderly (over 65) - if the victim is 65 or older, and the value of stolen property is $500 or more then the punishment range is five to ten years.
Don't fight alone. Be prepared to fight the charges against you, it is so important that you are prepared for court and that all possible defenses in your case are explored. Contact us today and schedule your consultation with Ryan so that we can get started preparing your defense.