Theft can occur in a variety of ways under Georgia law. The most common type of theft involves theft by taking, which Georgia statute defines as occurring when a person “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 property is taken or appropriated.” (Georgia Code § 16-8-2.)
Georgia law also provides for several other types of theft, including:
When a theft offense involves property valued at $500 or less, the crime is punishable as a misdemeanor in Georgia. ( § 16-8-12.) Punishment for a misdemeanor includes a fine of no more than $1,000 and a sentence of imprisonment of no more than 12 months. If an offender receives a sentence of six months or less, it is within the authority and discretion of the sentencing judge to allow the sentence to be served via weekend confinement or during the offender's nonworking hours. ( § 17-10-3.)
If the theft offense involves property valued at more than $500, the crime is punishable as a felony, or as a misdemeanor, at the judge’s discretion. ( § 17-10-5.) If charged as a felony, theft carries a sentence of imprisonment of not less than one year and not more than ten years. ( § 16-8-12.) The other circumstances under which a theft is punishable as a felony in Georgia include:
A shoplifting offense will result in a misdemeanor conviction in the state of Georgia where the value of the shoplifted property is $300 or less.
However, a shoplifting offense will constitute a felony under Georgia law if:
For an offender’s second shoplifting offense, the court will impose a fine of at least $250, either in addition to or instead of a sentence of imprisonment.
Upon a third shoplifting offense in Georgia, an offender will receive a sentence of imprisonment of 30 days, or an alternative sentence of confinement, such as home detention, for a period of 120 days, and may be ordered to receive psychological evaluation or treatment at the offender’s expense.
Upon a fourth or subsequent shoplifting offense, the offender shall receive a sentence of imprisonment of at least one year, which is non-suspendable, and a maximum of ten years. ( § 16-8-14.)
Any owner of stolen personal property may bring a civil action for damages against the person that stole the property. Monetary damages in such a case may include:
The civil action may proceed if the following conditions are met: