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Understanding Theft by Deception: Insights From The Waltman Firm

Learn about theft by deception, its legal implications, and how The Waltman Firm can help defend your rights.

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Theft by Deception: Understanding the Consequences and Legal Implications

Theft by deception occurs when a person intentionally deceives another person in order to deprive that person of their property. Deception can occur when there is a fiduciary or confidential relationship by giving a false impression of fact, promises performance, or failing to disclose a legal impediment regarding property involved in a transaction.

If a person purposely obtains property through deceptive means or false impressions, they may be guilty of theft by deception. However, theft by deception crimes can be challenging to identify due to their complex nature. Unlike other theft crimes, the prosecution must show that there was some intentional trickery regarding a fact by the accused.

Those accused of theft by deception face serious legal consequences, including fines and imprisonment. This is why seeking legal help is crucial. At The Waltman Firm, we have extensive experience handling theft by deception cases. We passionately fight for our clients, creating aggressive and personalized defense strategies.

Elements of Theft by Deception

According to the Georgia Code, theft by deception involves obtaining property by deceitful means or artful practice, intending to deprive the owner of their property. This definition underscores the necessity of proving deceptive intent and reliance for a conviction.

Theft by deception is a complex crime that involves various vital elements. These elements help define the illegal act and distinguish it from other types of theft.

Intent to Deceive

First, there must be an intent to deceive. This means that the person committing the crime purposely used deceitful means to obtain another person’s property. Furthermore, there must be a deception of fact, not opinion. Without this intent, the act does not qualify as theft by deception.

Under Georgia law, a person deceives intentionally by:

  1. Creating or confirming another person’s impression of a false fact or past event that the accused knows or believes to be false.
  2. Failing to correct a false impression of fact or a past event that he or she had previously created or confirmed.
  3. Preventing another person from acquiring pertinent information to the disposition of the involved property.
  4. Selling or otherwise transferring or encumbering property or intentionally failing to disclose a known lien, adverse claim, or other legal impediment to the enjoyment of the property. Whether or not the impediment is a matter of official record.
  5. Promising performance of services that a person does not intend to perform.

Acquisition of Property

Another crucial element is the acquisition of property. The defendant must actually obtain another person’s property through deceit. This element is essential because it demonstrates that the victim lost something of value due to the deceptive act.

Victim’s Reliance on Deception

For a successful conviction, it must be proven that the victim relied on the deception. The victim’s belief in the false information or trickery must have led them to part with their property. This element would not be satisfied if the victim knew the deceit.

Legal Consequences of Theft by Deception

Theft by deception can carry severe legal consequences. These penalties can include fines, imprisonment, and other legal repercussions. Depending on the value of the property involved, theft by deception can result in either misdemeanor or felony charges.

Potential Penalties

OCGA § 16-8-12 defines the various penalties for theft. In general, individuals may face the following include:

  • Misdemeanor: Up to 1 year in jail and fines up to $1,000
  • Felony: Several years in prison and fines ranging from $1,000 to $25,000

Additionally, a conviction could lead to probation, community service, or restitution payments to the victim. Ultimately, the penalties a person faces will depend on the offense charged, value of the property involved, and any past crimes.

Long-Term Impacts

Besides legal penalties, a conviction for theft by deception can have long-lasting repercussions. A criminal record often makes finding employment challenging. A theft conviction, in particular, can be a significant red flag.

Personal relationships can also suffer. Trust may be broken among friends and family, leading to strained or lost relationships. Such a conviction can affect every part of an individual’s life, making it hard to move forward.

Given these serious consequences, it’s vital to seek help from a skilled felony lawyer if faced with theft by deception charges.

Defending Against Theft by Deception Charges

Defending against theft by deception charges can be complex. Each case is unique, but several common defense strategies can be utilized.

Lack of Intent

One possible defense is to demonstrate that there was no intent to deceive. If the accused can show that they did not intend to trick the victim, this may help create a reasonable doubt.

Mistake of Fact

Another defense is mistake of fact. If the defendant had an honest and reasonable belief that they had a right to the property, this can serve as a defense. For instance, thinking an item was abandoned or mistakenly believing it was a gift can fall under this.

Consent

If the property owner consented, it may serve as a strong defense. Proving the owner agreed to give the property can invalidate the accusation of deception.

Legal Protections

There are several legal protections in place for criminal defendants. All individuals have the following rights:

  • Right to an Attorney: The right to legal representation during questioning and trial.
  • Presumption of Innocence: One is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
  • Right to a Fair Trial: Entitled to a fair and impartial trial.

These protections are critical to the legal process. Your criminal defense attorney can assert these rights, ensuring you are treated fairly by the court, law enforcement, and prosecution.

The Role of a Skilled Attorney

When facing charges of theft by deception, having assistance from a skilled attorney may be crucial. An experienced lawyer understands the law and how to navigate the criminal justice system.

Attorneys help by:

  • Investigating the circumstances of the case.
  • Gathering evidence to support your defense.
  • Advising you on potential outcomes.
  • Representing you in court.
  • Negotiating with prosecutors,

The Waltman Firm offers comprehensive defense services. Attorney Holly Waltman can help you understand your options and guide you through the complexities of the legal process.

An experienced theft lawyer in Marietta also provides emotional support during a stressful time. They can explain the charges you’re facing and what to expect in court.

Contact The Waltman Firm Today

If you have been charged with a theft by deception crime, getting legal help may be essential. At The Waltman Firm, we understand how confusing and stressful these situations can be. Our experienced theft attorney can provide you with the support you need.

The Waltman Firm has a strong track record in defending theft by deception cases. We provide our clients with personalized and effective legal strategies designed to protect their rights.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need immediate legal assistance or want to schedule a consultation.