Auto Theft Laws In Georgia Explained
Anyone who commits auto theft in the state of Georgia will be charged with one or more offenses, some of which carry the possibility of felony penalties.
The state of Georgia has several criminal charges that can apply in any auto theft case. Georgia goes beyond just general theft laws, including charges such as joyriding, carjacking, entering a motor vehicle with the intent to commit a crime, and operating a chop shop.
If you or someone you love is facing auto theft charges in Georgia, you first should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. The best chance of ensuring your freedom and protecting your rights is to have a defense attorney who will fight for you. We will discuss auto theft laws in Georgia, several possible auto theft charges, and what to do if you are facing auto theft charges in Georgia.
Georgia Auto Theft Laws
Georgia takes auto theft very seriously and has specific laws for each charge. The penalties in Georgia for auto theft are based upon the value of the stolen property and the circumstances surrounding the crime. In Georgia, auto thefts fall under Georgia’s “theft by taking” statute, which distinguishes between nonviolent and violent auto theft charges that often accompany carjacking or other criminal activities. Below is a list of possible charges and their penalties.
- Georgia Code Section 16-5-44.1 (hijacking a motor vehicle)
- Georgia Code Section 16-7-21 (joyriding/criminal trespass)
- Georgia Code Section 16-8-2 (general theft by taking statue)
- Georgia Code Section 16-8-7 (theft by receiving stolen property)
- Georgia Code Section 16-8-18 (entering a motor vehicle with the intent to commit a robbery or felony)
- Georgia Code Section 16-8-83 (owning or operating chop shops)
- Georgia Code Section 16-8-84 (allowing the seizure of chop shot equipment and tools)
Sentences and Penalties For Auto Theft In Georgia
Judges can choose from a range of penalties depending upon the circumstances and value of the vehicle. Nonviolent auto thefts versus violent auto thefts also carry different punishments.
- Hijacking a motor vehicle is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.
- Joyriding/Criminal Trespass is a misdemeanor and Is punishable by up to one year in prison and up to $1,000 in fines.
- Theft by taking/receiving stolen property is a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the motor vehicle.
If the vehicle’s value is under $500 and is a misdemeanor, it is punishable by up to one year in prison and up to $1,000 in fines.
If the vehicle’s value is between $5000 and $24,999, it is considered a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.
If the value is $25,000 or higher, it is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.
- Entering a vehicle with intent to commit a theft or felony is a felony that is punishable by up to five years in prison.
- Owning/operating chop shops is a felony that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.
Common Defenses For Auto Theft Charges
Your defense attorney can help to determine which is the best option for your auto theft case and may use one of the following defenses to fight the auto theft charges such as:
- If you were mentally incapacitated
- If you were intoxicated
- Your age can be a factor as anyone under 13 cannot be found guilty of a crime
- If your conduct is justifiable or excusable due to circumstances such as stealing a vehicle to rush someone to the hospital or get away from an attacker
- The attorney may also attempt to prove that the individual did not intend to take ownership of the vehicle and that it was simply a mistake or misunderstanding
As you can see, Georgia has several different motor vehicle theft laws, and the prosecution will work to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you have committed a crime. Hiring a skilled criminal defense lawyer in Georgia you can trust, who can look at the evidence against you and defend you against the auto theft charges, is the best way to protect your rights and freedom.
Contact Andrew L. Schwartz Law
Mr. Schwartz has a strong reputation for being a dynamic criminal lawyer and a successful negotiator in Georgia. Andrew L. Schwartz Law fights for the rights and freedoms of those accused of DUIs, serious felonies, and misdemeanor crimes. Contact us today for a free consultation with a criminal lawyer in Cobb County, Ga.