Theft, Robbery, and Burglary and Georgia Law
Theft, robbery, and burglary are distinct crimes under Georgia law. Each is governed by its own provision of the Georgia Penal Code and has its own set of possible penalties.
Georgia Classifications of Crimes
Unlike many states, Georgia does not designate crimes by class (such as “Class A felony” or “Class 1 felony”). Instead, Georgia’s laws identify crimes as misdemeanors or felonies and assign sentences on a crime-by-crime basis.
The most severe felonies are punishable by the death penalty (for murder only) or life imprisonment. Other serious crimes (including kidnapping, armed robbery, rape, and other sex crimes) are punishable by a minimum of 10 or 25 years in prison. Less serious crimes (such as theft crimes) are punishable by shorter prison terms. For example, rape is punishable by 25 years to life imprisonment or life without parole. (Ga. Code Ann. § 16-6-1.)
Some crimes are punishable as felonies or misdemeanors, depending on the circumstances. These crimes are called “wobblers.” In Georgia, a judge may sentence any defendant convicted of a felony punishable by ten years or less in prison to a misdemeanor sentence instead of a felony sentence. (Ga. Code Ann. § 17-10-5.)
How does each crime differ from the other and how each offense is classified?
Theft differs from robbery in that the theft is a taking of property that does not involve a person-to-person interaction. A person merely takes property that does not belong to him.
Robbery, in contrast to theft, is a taking of property that does involve a person-to-person interaction with force or intimidation.
Burglary, in contrast to both theft and robbery, is the entering of a building or residence with the intention to commit a robbery or any felonious crime. A Burglary does not require that property be stolen or that person-to-person interaction occur.
How Theft, Robbery, and Burglary are Classified
Theft is a taking of property. Theft is what is known as a “wobbler,” meaning that it can be charged as a misdemeanor, or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the crime and the criminal record of the defendant.
Petty theft can be charged as an infraction if the value of the goods stolen is under a certain amount or the defendant has no prior convictions for robbery. The most frequent charge for petty theft is a misdemeanor, but it is possible to be charged with a felony if the accused has prior robberies on his/her record. Grand theft can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, and the final outcome depends on the unique circumstances of the incident.
Robbery is the taking of property through fear or by force and involves a person-to-person interaction. A robbery committed in an inhabited place; against drivers and passengers of public transportation and against people using ATMs are considered first-degree theft, other instances of robbery are considered a second degree.
All robberies are classified as felonies.
GEORGIA LAW Robbery: Felony, 1 to 20 years in prison. If the alleged victim is older than 65-years old, that time increases to 5 to 20 years in prison.
Burglary involves entering a building with the intention of committing a felony or any theft. Like other Georgia criminal charges, burglary can be charged in different degrees according to the severity of the crime. O.C.G.A. §16. Like thefts, burglaries committed in Georgia are wobblers since they can be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies depending on the circumstances of the incident.
What Is the Difference between First and Second Degree Burglary in Georgia?
Under Georgia law, the first-degree burglary focuses on the breaking and entering into another person’s dwelling. In Georgia, a dwelling can be any occupied, unoccupied, or vacant place an individual resides, regardless of whether their residence is a building, a car, an aircraft, a watercraft, a railroad car, or other structure.
First Degree Burglary is a Felony charge in Ga.
Second-degree burglary focuses on unlawfully breaking into or remaining in any location that is not used for a dwelling, such as a commercial or business property.
Second-degree Burglary can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Possessing Theft and Burglary Tools is a Crime in GA.
In Georgia, it is also a crime to possess any tool, explosive, or another object that is typically used in the commission of burglary, theft, or some other crime with the intent to use the tool to commit a crime. So, a locksmith who owns lock picks has not committed a crime, but a person who has a lock pick to break into someone’s house and steal things could be convicted of possession of burglary tools. (Ga. Code Ann. § 16-7-20.) For more information on how even everyday items can become burglar’s tools, see Burglary Tools.
A felony conviction can result in time in prison, a fine, and a serious criminal record, which can prevent you from holding certain jobs. Many felony convictions also have to be reported to licensing
The Value of Legal Representation in a Theft, Robbery, or Burglary Case
A felony conviction can result in time in prison, a fine, and a serious criminal record, which can prevent you from holding certain jobs. Many felony convictions also have to be reported to licensing boards or employers, or both. Your best chance of obtaining a favorable sentence, no matter what the charge, is to talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney in your city and state of residence or arrest.
If you’ve been charged with a crime such as theft, robbery, or burglary in the Atlanta and surrounding area call us at 770-955-8322 to book your free consultation or book online. We offer flat fees for all criminal defense cases.