Terms like “robbery” and “burglary” get thrown around a lot in common conversation. However, in Georgia criminal law, they have specific meanings, and refer to different crimes altogether. These crimes have their own definitions and carry their own specific penalties.
If you’re being charged with a property crime in Georgia, it’s important for you to understand the details of the charges you’re facing. Below, experienced Georgia defense attorney Kim Frye explains the difference between theft, robbery, and burglary.
Read on to find out exactly what you’re being charged with, and how to defend yourself from the charges.
Theft in Georgia
In Georgia criminal law, “theft” is a term that can refer to a number of different crimes. The most simple, and most common, is theft by taking.
Here’s how Georgia law defines theft by taking:
“A person commits the offense of theft by taking when he 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 the property is taken or appropriated.”
However, depending on the circumstances, you might be charged with a more specific type of theft, including the following:
- Theft by deception
- Theft by conversion
- Theft of services
- Theft by shoplifting
- Theft by extortion
- Theft by receiving stolen property
An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to help you understand exactly which type of theft you’re being charged with. But the elements and potential penalties are largely the same between the different types.
If the value of the stolen property is less than $500, the crime is a misdemeanor, which can result in up to one year in jail. However, if the value of the stolen property is $500 or more, the crime is a felony, and can result in up to 10 years in prison.
Robbery in Georgia
Robbery is a different crime altogether, and it usually involves taking a person’s property by force or intimidation.
There are three types of robbery in Georgia:
- Simple robbery is defined as taking a person’s property in their immediate presence by use of force, threat of force, intimidation, or sudden snatching.
- Armed robbery adds the element of using or appearing to use a weapon while robbing someone. This means it doesn’t have to be a real weapon; using an unloaded gun or a toy knife, or even keeping your hand in your pocket could all qualify as armed robbery.
- Armed robbery of a pharmacy incurs extra penalties for the defendant. This is defined as taking a controlled substance from a pharmacy or other drug dispensary by armed robbery.
Here are the criminal penalties for robbery in Georgia:
- Simple robbery: A fine of $1,000 to $10,000, and a sentence of 1 to 20 years in prison.
- Armed robbery: A fine of $1,000 to $10,000 and a sentence of 5 to 20 years in prison. Depending on the circumstances of the case, armed robbery may lead to a sentence of life in prison.
- Armed robbery of a pharmacy: Penalties are the same as armed robbery, but with a minimum prison sentence of 10 years.
Burglary in Georgia
Burglary differs from theft in that it involves entering someone’s home or business in order to steal from them. However, burglary isn’t limited to just theft; entering someone’s home or business with the intent to commit any felony, such as kidnapping or assault, can be considered burglary.
Georgia law defines three different types of burglary:
- First-degree burglary involves entering someone’s home with the intent to commit a felony or theft
- Second-degree burglary involves entering a business or other structure with the intent to commit a felony or theft
- Smash-and-grab burglary involves entering a retail establishment with the intent to commit theft, and causing damages in excess of $500.
First-degree burglary and smash-and-grab burglary are each punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Second-degree burglary is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Contact Kim Frye today
If you’ve been accused of robbery, burglary, or theft, don’t despair. With an experienced defense attorney by your side, you can present evidence to get your charges dropped, be acquitted by a jury, or have your sentence reduced. Contact the Frye Law Group today to schedule a free consultation.