Swingle Levin LLC: Your Athens Theft Defense Lawyer

Athens Theft Defense Attorney

Are you or a loved one facing theft charges in Athens, GA? Our battle-tested criminal law attorneys at Swingle Levin LLC are here for you.

According to Georgia law, there are different types of theft, but the most common one is theft by taking. You commit theft by taking when you unlawfully and without consent take property that belongs to another person with the intention to deprive them of it. If convicted of theft in Athens, you could be looking at a long prison sentence and hefty fines.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about theft offenses, possible penalties, and how our attorneys can help you.

Theft Charges in Athens, GA

Theft charges in Georgia vary in definition and severity, depending on the method and the value of stolen goods. For example, you could receive a harsher penalty if the theft crime involved aggravating factors, such as weapons or assault.

Common theft charges in Athens, Georgia, include:

  • Identity theft: Identity theft is one of the most common computer crimes. You commit identity theft when you obtain someone’s personal information fraudulently and without authorization.
  • Shoplifting: You may receive a shoplifting charge if you take or use goods from an establishment without paying.
  • Embezzlement: Employees and managers who steal or misuse funds entrusted to them by their employers commit the offense of embezzlement, known as conversion in Georgia law.
  • Robbery: You can face a robbery charge if you took the property of another person using force, intimidation, threat, or coercion. You could face aggravated assault charges on top if you threatened to or caused bodily injury.
  • Armed robbery: You face an armed robbery charge if you use a deadly weapon or a replica of a weapon to rob another person.

Penalties for Theft in Georgia

Theft penalties vary depending on the amount stolen and whether aggravating factors such as violence are involved.

Theft Penalties

According to O.C.G.A §16-8-12, a theft conviction could carry the following penalties:

  • From two to 20 years of imprisonment if the stolen amount exceeds $2,4999.99.
  • From one to ten years in prison if the stolen property is worth at least $5,000 but less than $25,000.
  • A prison term of one to five years if the stolen amount is at least $1,500.01 but less than $5,000.

If the amount involved is less than $1,500, you will face a misdemeanor conviction with one year in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.

Identity Theft and Fraud

Under O.C.G.A. § 16-9-126, the fraudulent use of someone’s personal information to commit a crime is a felony punishable by one to ten years in prison, a fine of up to $100,000, or both.

An attempt to commit identity fraud is punishable by community service, a fine, or both. It can also lead to imprisonment, depending on the severity of the case.

Robbery Penalties

Under O.C.G.A. § 16-8-40, a robbery conviction could receive between one and 20 years in prison. However, robbing people aged 65 or older carries a minimum sentence of 5 years.

Armed Robbery Penalties

According to O.C.G.A. § 16-8-41, a conviction for armed robbery carries ten to 20 years behind bars. However, you may also be sentenced to life imprisonment, depending on the severity of the crime.

The Criminal Process for Theft Cases in Athens, GA

A police officer could arrest you if she has probable cause to believe you committed theft. Once booked, you may be able to pay a bail bond and await your trial at home. However, the court could reject your bond request if they consider you a flight risk or a danger to society.

As part of your pretrial hearings and negotiations, the prosecutor may offer you a plea deal to avoid going to trial. Your criminal defense attorney will advise you on whether or not you should take the deal based on your case facts.

If your case proceeds to trial, both parties will engage in case presentations and rebuttals to prove or disprove your guilt.

Remember that a guilty verdict is not the end of the fight. You have multiple appeal options that can change the outcome of your trial. Consider working with an attorney who has experience in handling appeals in addition to criminal defense.

Swingle Levin LLC has a proven track record in successfully appealing criminal charges in Georgia.

Possible Defenses to Theft Charges

Felony convictions can have dire effects on your career, family, and reputation. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can prevent or mitigate the damage a theft conviction can have on you by showing that you:

  • Were entrapped into committing the criminal offense
  • Returned the property after realizing it was not yours
  • Have the right to use the property

How Can an Athens Theft Defense Lawyer Help?

A theft conviction in Georgia could put you behind bars for years. Experienced criminal defense lawyers can work to prevent that from happening.

A theft defense attorney can represent you from your first interview with the police up to the sentencing to make sure your constitutional rights are not violated. In an investigation room, your lawyer is your only ally.

If you are charged, your lawyer will represent you at the pretrial hearings and file motions to suppress evidence or dismiss the charges before your case goes to trial. Your defense can also negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf and advise you on whether or not you should take a plea deal.

Having an experienced attorney by your side at the trial is indispensable for your case’s success. They will guide you throughout the process and defend you vigorously.

Contact Swingle Levin LLC Today

Criminal defense attorneys at Swingle Levin LLC have represented many clients from the Athens area and beyond and have successfully pleaded for the dismissal of hundreds of criminal charges.

We believe in offering our clients passionate and aggressive representation because you are innocent until proven guilty. We will work tirelessly to get you the justice you deserve.

Besides theft, we handle different criminal cases that involve:

  • Sex crimes
  • DUI crimes
  • Drug crimes
  • Serious traffic offenses such as vehicular homicide

Contact our criminal defense law firm to schedule a free consultation today!


How Long Does a Theft Charge Stay on Your Criminal Record?

A theft conviction in Georgia stays on your criminal record indefinitely if the case is not handled with care. You may be able to request a record restriction for employment purposes with private-sector employers. Also, it may be possible to resolve your case pursuant to a first offender provision that helps restrict access to your criminal record. Public institutions, including law enforcement agencies, will still be able to access your complete criminal record.