Theft by taking is such a short statute that it doesn’t require much explaining. Most importantly, one needs to understand that you can be charged under this statute for the theft of something you were authorized to take or use. The statute is pretty straightforward. Under O.C.G.A. §16-8-2, you may be charged with Theft by Taking should you:
1) “unlawfully” take any property of another with the intention of depriving him of the property regardless of the manner in which the property was taken or appropriated; or
2) If you’re currently in lawful possession of, you then “unlawfully” appropriate that property “with the intention of depriving him of the property”, regardless of the manner in which the property was appropriated
The second section is probably more important to explain than the first. You can be charged with theft by taking for something you have permission to use/possess if there is evidence of an “intent to deprive”.
This “intent to deprive” can be manifested in, literally, dozens of ways. The accused need not actually say he/she intended to deprive the owner. The mere possession of the item/money/object past the time it was supposed to be returned or handed over may be sufficient.
Punishment is as follows:
For property valued at $25,000 or more – Felony: 2 to 20 years imprisonment
For property valued at $5,000 to $24,999 – Felony: 1 to 10 years imprisonment
For property valued at $1,500.01 to $4,999 – Felony: 1 to 5 years imprisonment For property valued at $1,500 or less, it’s now a misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail.
However, if you have two prior convictions, the third, no matter the value of the property, the third conviction is a felony punishable by 1 to 5 years imprisonment.
Finally, if the VICTIM is 65 years or older, anything over $500 is a felony punishable by 5 to 10 years imprisonment.
Remember, there are plenty of defenses which can be raised under this statute. Simply being charged does not mean that you face conviction.
- Jason Carnell