If you’re facing theft charges or burglary charges in Georgia, you need to understand that the consequences may be greater than the sentence. You should also consider the impact that a theft conviction appearing on a background check could have on your future. Remember, a criminal conviction will remain on your Georgia Criminal History for the rest of your life!
Your ideal attorney will determine whether the evidence is sufficient to prove the charge and advocate on your behalf. My experience as a former state prosecutor allows me to understand how the State will pursue your charges.
Such ‘insider’ knowledge allows me to best assert your defenses and bring out mitigating factors that can result in a successful defense of the charge. Learn more about how the McCranie Law Firm handles burglary charges and theft charges below.
Understanding Georgia Theft and Burglary Charges
If charged with a theft or property offense, it is essential that you exercise your right to remain silent and demand an attorney. If you do not, and your case proceeds to trial, anything you say may be used against you in court. You should also contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer at the McCranie Law Firm as soon as possible.
What Are the Penalties Involved?
Theft and burglary are different crimes that involve different penalties. Georgia defines theft as the unauthorized taking of someone else’s property with the intent to permanently deprive them of the item. There are different degrees of theft:
- Petty theft: theft of an item valued at $500 or less
- Grand theft: theft of an item exceeding $500 in value
While petty theft is a misdemeanor, grand theft can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. Other theft charges might involve shoplifting, theft by deception, or receiving stolen property.
The penalties for a theft conviction vary. A misdemeanor conviction will result in a jail sentence of no more than 12 months and a fine of no more than $1,000. You might even be able to serve your sentence on weekends. However, a felony theft sentence can involve incarceration for one to ten years and fines. Both sentences will also result in a criminal record which might impact your ability to find work, housing, or obtain an education in the future.
Most of us associate burglary charges with theft. However, Georgia defines burglary as entering a dwelling house (a place where someone lives) with the intent to commit a felony. You can also face “smash and grab” burglary charges if you enter a business with the intent to commit a felony and cause at least $500 in property damage. It is always considered a felony. If you’re convicted on burglary charges, you’ll face a prison sentence between 5 and 20 years and fines up to $100,000, depending on the factors in your case.
At McCranie Law Firm, We Understand the Importance of Your Defense
A lot is at stake when you’re facing theft and burglary charges. Because I personally handle every case from start to finish, I am aware of the anxiety that the prospect of a conviction for theft. I take the time to understand your specific circumstances, fears and the collateral consequences a conviction.
When our Georgia criminal defense lawyers engage to mount your defense, we perform the due diligence to ensure the case against you fits the definition of the crime. We will carefully evaluate the evidence and listen to your side of the story. If the evidence doesn’t stack up, I will seek a negotiation to a lesser charge or a full dismissal.
Depending on the facts surrounding your case, your defenses might include:
- Lack of criminal intent
- Intoxication or mental incapacity
- Age (young children typically cannot a theft or burglary)
Under the law in Georgia you are innocent until proven guilty. The burden of proof in any case against you lies with the State prosecutors; they must prove their case ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’. With help from an experienced defense attorney, you can pick a part the prosecutors’ case, identifying errors and factors that support a “not guilty” verdict or a lesser sentence.
We also check whether any statements made or searches done were in compliance with, or in breach of, your constitutional rights. It’s not uncommon for police officers to violate your search and seizure rights, insufficiently advise you of your right to remain silent or make other procedural violations. As your defense attorney, I know that defending you against a theft or burglary charge also means defending your constitutional rights.
It is important to your future that when facing theft or burglary charges you obtain representation from skilled Georgia criminal defense lawyers. The McCranie Law Firm’s lawyers have extensive experience handling theft charges and burglary charges. They use their unique perspective as past prosecutors and seasoned criminal defense lawyers to advocate for their clients and fight for their freedom.
What Should I Do If I’m Facing Theft or Burglary Charges?
During an arrest, it’s always important to protect your constitutional rights. FIrst, remain silent until your defense attorney is present. Your lawyer will help you evaluate your theft charges or burglary charges and craft a defense that meets your immediate needs and long-term goals. Remember, the police will try to get you to make damaging statements while your lawyer is absent. Don’t fall for their tricks. Instead, remain polite, professional, and silent.
You also should never try to fight an arrest or flee the scene. These acts can lead to additional criminal charges. For example, felony resisting arrest might result in up to a five-year prison sentence. However, if you fought back in self-defense or there was evidence of police misconduct, you might have a defense.
Find an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
It’s also important to find the right criminal defense lawyer. At the McCranie Law Firm, our criminal defense team has extensive experience as both prosecutors and defense lawyers. We understand the tactics that both sides employ and can build strategies to counteract them. We also can help you understand the pros and cons of a plea bargain and assess your eligibility for Georgia’s pre-trial diversion programs (which can help you avoid a criminal record under certain circumstances).
Don’t be afraid to ask your criminal defense attorney about their level of experience with theft charges and burglary charges. If you’re not comfortable with the lawyer’s level of experience, retain other counsel. The McCranie Law Firm offers free initial consultations and we’re ready to talk to you.
You Might Also Face Civil Liability for Theft or Burglary
A theft or burglary case might also result in a civil lawsuit, demanding compensation for their property losses and personal injuries In a civil claim, the alleged victim does not have to prove you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
Instead, they must prove that there is substantial evidence showing that you committed the crime. This burden of proof is sometimes referred to as “a preponderance of the evidence.” If you’re served with a civil lawsuit, you should immediately contact an attorney. These lawsuits will be in addition to the criminal theft charges and burglary charges that you might face.
Request a Consultation With a Georgia Defense Lawyer About Your Theft Charges
If you’ve been charged with burglary charges or theft charges, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side. At McCranie Law Firm we look after the interests of the citizens of south Georgia. Based in Valdosta and Douglas, Georgia, we provide the highest level of professional legal counsel to clients in south Georgia and aggressively defend their rights.
My team and I welcome your call on at 912-209-9372 or email. We will be happy to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your theft charges.