Grand Theft Auto Consequences and Penalties in Georgia
Attorneys reduce or eliminate severe grand theft auto consequences in Georgia.
Felony auto theft is one of the most common crimes in Georgia. These offenses could be misdemeanors or felonies, mostly depending on the vehicle’s value. Theft of a $25,000 (or higher) vehicle is a major felony. Theft of a $1,500 (or lower) vehicle is a misdemeanor. All other vehicle values are somewhere in between. Sometimes, prosecutors may charge auto theft as a misdemeanor or felony.
Value, the key factor in terms of GTA consequences, is subjective. Sticker prices and asking prices are always inflated. At the other end of the sale, as-is cash buyers, usually investors, only offer pennies on the dollar.
Because of these complexities, an Atlanta criminal defense lawyer is an important partner in these matters. An experienced lawyer evaluates your case and determines your legal options. Then, an attorney works through the system and successfully resolves your case. This successful resolution could be a not guilty verdict at trial, a plea to a lesser included offense, or a complete dismissal of charges.
We mentioned one possible defense above, which is the car’s value. Usually, the court uses reasonable value. An Atlanta criminal defense attorney shows that the asking sticker price is inflated, mostly through a comparison with similar vehicles. At the same time, vehicle investors are willing to testify that their offers are reasonable based on market factors, vehicle conditions, and other factors. Procedural and substantive defenses are available as well.
Generally, officers receive a report of a stolen car and pull over the vehicle on sight. The tip’s reliability, or lack thereof, is critical in such cases. Anonymous tips are almost always unreliable. If the information is so shaky that the tipster refuses to voice for it, there is no reason a Judge should feel differently. Other civilian tips are often unreliable as well. People routinely make unsubstantiated allegations against other people.
The result is irrelevant in these situations. Even if the information is correct, the process could be flawed.
Additionally, when these cases go to court, prosecutors must establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. That is the highest standard of proof in the law. Failure to timely return a rental car is a good example. Usually, prosecutors must prove that the defendant returned the car late and the defendant intended to permanently deprive the owner of the full value of the property (theft by conversion).
Resolving a GTA Case
Especially if the defendant is a first-time offender, prison sentences are rare in auto theft cases, even in felonies. In fact, the complete opposite of prison is usually an option.
If the owner got the property back, which is usually the case, prosecutors typically offer pretrial diversion. Basically, if the defendant complies with some basic program requirements, like performing community service, prosecutors will dismiss the charges.
Deferred disposition is usually available as well. If the defendant successfully completes probation, which is not the same thing as perfectly completing probation, the judge dismisses the case.
These alternnces have some significant pros and cons, which an attorney should thoroughly review.
Count on a Dedicated Gwinnett County Grand Auto Theft Defense Lawyer
Grand theft auto has significant consequences in Georgia. For a free consultation with an experienced Norcross criminal defense lawyer, contact Zimmerman & Associates, Attorneys at Law.