Theft is the taking of property from another party without their consent. Each state has different laws pertaining to theft, sometimes differentiating theft offenses into petty theft and grand theft based on the value of the property stolen. In Georgia, theft offenses are prosecuted based on value and the manner in which a theft is completed. It’s possible to face criminal prosecution for theft by receiving stolen property or theft by deception, and it is also possible to face a shoplifting charge if you stole property from a retail establishment.
When you have been charged with any type of theft offense in Henry County, it is vital to know your rights and the value of having an experienced McDonough theft defense attorney on your side. The right attorney can make a tremendous positive impact on the outcome of your case, potentially helping you avoid the worst penalties that might be assigned to you in sentencing or even helping you avoid conviction entirely.
The attorneys at Miller, North & Brill have years of experience in criminal defense and we have helped many past clients in Henry County with all types of theft cases. If you are arrested for any type of theft, remember your constitutional rights and take full advantage of the benefits that reliable defense counsel offers.
When you have been arrested for any criminal offense, two constitutional rights come into play. The Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination allows you to remain silent once you are placed under arrest, and the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of legal counsel ensures you will have the representation you want to have to reach the best possible outcome to your case.
The police are required to read a suspect their Miranda rights upon arrest, which is a succinct explanation of these two constitutional rights. Do not assume that if you did not commit the offense in question that you will be able to explain your way out of an arrest, or that the police have any incentive or desire to help you. Remain silent as you comply with the arresting officer’s directions, and after booking you should have the opportunity to make phone calls. Reach out to a McDonough theft defense attorney as soon as possible so they can begin working on your defense.
The Georgia criminal code assigns harsh penalties for theft offenses. At minimum, the defendant will be liable for replacing the stolen property or compensating the victim for the value stolen. At the misdemeanor level, the defendant can also face a fine and up to one year in county jail. At the felony level, the fine will be much greater and the defendant could spend one to 10 years in state prison depending on the severity of the offense.
In the event the defendant used a weapon, caused bodily injury, or engaged in other criminal behavior while committing the theft offense in question, additional charges are likely to be added to their case. These can compound their potential sentence dramatically, especially if they hurt or killed anyone while committing the theft in question. Your defense attorney’s job is to prove your innocence if you have been wrongfully accused or help you mitigate your penalties if you did commit the offense.
Shoplifting or retail theft is a specific type of theft that involves the illegal taking of merchandise from a retail store. This can be committed in various ways, but ultimately shoplifting is prosecuted based on the nature of where the theft took place and the manner in which the theft occurred. A fourth conviction for shoplifting is a felony and can be punished by up to 10 years in prison.
When you are convicted of theft in Henry County, jail time could be an element of your sentence. However, it is possible for some first-time offenders to plea bargain for a lighter sentence, and some judges are willing to consider alternatives to incarceration based on the specific details of a case. Plea deals are typically only offered to first-time offenders who did not cause bodily injury or death through their actions, but it is never guaranteed that a prosecutor will be willing to offer a plea deal in any criminal case, even a nonviolent one.
Every state enforces statutes of limitations or time limits for prosecuting certain criminal offenses. In Georgia, the statute of limitations for theft at the misdemeanor level is two years from the date the offense occurs, and the statute of limitations for felony theft is four years from the date of the theft in question. Prosecutors must file charges against the defendant within the statute of limitations or the defendant cannot be tried for the offense, unless they can show that the Defendant was intentionally evading prosecution of the statute of limitations was tolled for some other reason.
It’s possible to have a theft charge dismissed if you can prove you could not have committed the offense in question with a solid alibi, if the police failed to uphold due process in any way, or if the officers who arrested you violated your civil or constitutional rights in any way during your arrest and booking. When you hire a McDonough theft defense attorney, they should immediately review the procedural details of your arrest to look for any justification they can find to petition for case dismissal.
It’s natural to be concerned about costs if you need a private McDonough theft defense attorney. Be sure you understand your attorney’s rates before hiring them.
The attorneys at Miller, North & Brill have helped many past clients in Henry County charged with all types of theft offenses. Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony theft, we can provide the comprehensive legal representation you want to approach your criminal court proceedings with peace of mind. Contact us today and schedule your consultation with a McDonough theft defense attorney to learn more about the legal services our team provides.
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