Actually, there are 20 different statutes that can be used to charge a person with theft in Georgia, but once you dig into the details of those 20 statutes, it makes Paul Simon’s 50 ways to leave your lover seem relatively unimaginative compared to the Georgia legislature.
You would think that the regular old theft by taking (run of the mill stealing), theft by deception (tricking someone into giving you the goods), and theft by conversion (not returning something) would be sufficient to cover the gamut of thievery, you can be charged for theft by finding “lost or mislaid property” and failing to take efforts to return it to the rightful owner.
Store owners have had particular influence on the way theft is handled in Georgia, to the extent that the legislature has even added a specific code section for theft of a store’s shopping carts.
The really harsh part of the store owners influence in affecting the laws is the punishment. Shoplifting is defined in part as appropriating the merchandise for his/her own use from a retail establishment by either concealing or taking the possession, altering the price tag, transferring from one container to another, or interchanging the price tag on an item, even if the person does not actually remove the property from the retail establishment. If the value of that merchandise is over the princely sum of 300 dollars, the person accused of the theft will be charged a felony! This means if you snag one iPhone from a retail store, you will be faced with joining the ranks of murderers, rapists, and enemies of the state who threaten to set fire to courthouses, and similarly lose your rights to carry a firearm and vote.
Well, normal theft becomes a felony when it is a theft of something over $500 dollars, unless perhaps you have a lawyer who can convince a judge that that person should not be found to be a felon. The statute for punishment is much more complicated than that though. Maybe the theft was of anhydrous ammonia, an object from a cemetery, or perhaps it was theft from a commercial vehicle, or maybe even it was a “regulated metal property.” The punishment can vary greatly depending on what was alleged to have been taken by the defendant.
Don’t go to court alone!
If you don’t hire Roy Yunker, hire a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney before you take your liberty into your own hands!