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 law also provides for several other types of theft, including:

  • theft by deception
  • theft by conversion
  • theft of services
  • theft of lost or mislaid property
  • theft by receiving property stolen in another state
  • theft by bringing stolen property into the state
  • theft by shoplifting
  • theft by extortion

The most common question is what is the difference between felony and misdemeanor theft? Basically if the items have a value of $1500.00 or less, it is a misdemeanor.



On a shoplifting charge however, the amount is $500.00 instead of $1500.00. On Shoplifting, there are potential civil penalties the store will usually try to get IN ADDITION to the criminal fines and restitution. The decision to pay this is yours. However the entry of a plea of guilty could affect your potential civil liability. However, there may be ways to keep you from being convicted at all. You may be eligible for diversion or another program.

The conviction of a theft crime can have devastating effects on employment opportunities and the ability to make a living. Also, what you do today in criminal court may doom you in civil court. Under Georgia law, 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: compensatory damages, including the value of the property and any other loss sustained as a result of the theft liquidated exemplary damages in the amount of $150 or twice the value of the loss, if the value of the total claim is less than $5,000, and costs of maintaining the action. This is also in addition to anything that happens to you in court.

Many people are offered probation and jump at the chance to get out of court only to find later that the stigma of the conviction has long term effects. By then, it is too late. Act now. Get educated. Let us help you. Call us at 678-331-3131.