Theft by Conversion O.C.G.A. 16-8-4
What You Need to Know to Defend Yourself against Atlanta Georgia Theft by Conversion Charges from Yeargan & Kert, LLC
Theft by conversion is a different type of theft crime. Traditionally, theft involves the unlawful taking and carrying away of property that belongs to someone else. The goal of theft is to permanently deprive the owner of their property.
Whether the crime is theft by deception or theft by taking, the foundation of theft is the unlawful taking. Generally, the unlawful taking involves never having a right to possess the property in the first place. The unlawful taking may range from stealing money from a wallet or taking a phone with no intention of giving it back.
However, as defined under the criminal statute 16-8-4, theft by conversion requires you to have possession of the property.
Theft by Conversion Charge in Atlanta Georgia
According to Georgia law, a person commits theft by conversion when they have lawfully obtained property, but converts into their property. For instance, you are lawfully given the right to rent a computer from a rental store. The lawfully given right is based on an agreement. You then decided to keep the computer and not make the payments, this would be theft by conversion. You allegedly converted property you legally had into your illegal ownership.
The Property in an Atlanta Georgia Theft by Conversion Charge Involves any Type of Property
Most people think that theft by conversion involves property like jewelry. However, you can be accused of taking property legally and converting into your own property. The property can be:
- Something of value that is leased
- Rental property
The seriousness of a theft by conversion charge depends on the value of the property allegedly illegally taken. Property valued at $500 or less is a misdemeanor conversion charge. Any amount over $500 will result in a felony charge. A felony conviction means prison time.
Theft by Conversion Property in Atlanta Georgia can Include Personal Property or Work Related Property
Rental and lease agreements were previously mentioned regarding how property can go from lawful to illegal possession. A theft by conversion charge can include personal property. Personal property involves any type of item that has the replacement value of more than $100. It can range from jewelry to household goods or a cellular phone.
An employee can also be charged with theft by conversion. An employee such as a government official or bank employee has lawful possession of their employer’s property. They convert the lawful property into their illegal possession and fails to pay on an account, they can be accused of theft by conversion. It is assumed the employee intended to keep the funds when the employer’s account was not paid.
The Defenses Available in a Theft by Conversion Charge in Atlanta Georgia
A defense is a defense strategy used to combat the state’s case against you. In other words, the state is trying to convict you beyond a reasonable doubt. You are using a defense to prove your innocence or avoid the harsh penalties associated with the theft by conversion charge. You do not have to prove your innocence beyond a reasonable doubt. Reasonable doubt is only for the state. It has the responsibility of the state to leave no doubt in the mind of the jury or judge over your trial that you are innocent.
You have options to defend yourself in a theft by conversion charge. You can plead the following defenses:
- Attack the specific intent of the theft charge. You have to intentionally take the property. If you took the property by mistake, it is not a crime. You did not do it on purpose. Therefore you cannot be convicted of theft by conversion.
- You had consent to take the property without by your employer or owner of the property. This means that you were allowed to take the property. You did not dupe the alleged victim because you had legal right to have it and convert it into your property. The alleged victim gave their consent and knew the property would not be their property anymore.
- You did not convert the property into your own. This defense claims you had the legal right to possess the property and never converted the property. This means you are being falsely accused of the crime.
- You never had any legal right to possess the property you are accused of taking. This will negate the element needed to be convicted of theft by conversion.
You may not be able to use the defenses mentioned above, but that does not mean you have no legal options. You have other defenses available to you to fight your theft by conversion charge. The specific defense will depend on the facts of the case.
For example, you could be totally innocent of this theft crime. You maintained legal possession of the property you were entrusted with and never took it. You never permanently deprived the owner of the property. This is the actual innocence defense.
The best way to determine the best theft by deception defense is to talk to your lawyer.
The Yeargan & Kert, LLC is Your Atlanta Georgia Theft by Conversion Lawyers
When you are facing a theft by conversion charge, you need legal representation to help you do at least three things:
- Clear your name regarding the theft charges
- Defend you against the theft by conversion charge
- Protect your legal rights regarding proving your innocence or getting the criminal charges dropped or reduced
At Yeargan & Kert, LLC we are committed to protecting your legal rights, clearing your name and defending you against the conversion charges. During our free case evaluation, we will go over the facts of your case and all possible defenses available to you. Our goal is to get a not guilty verdict or reduced or drop the theft by conversion charges.