Theft Of Auto or Grand Theft Auto Charges?

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Have you been charged with theft of auto, grand theft auto, or theft by taking? According to statistics from the FBI, Atlanta ranks fourth in the nation for the number of auto thefts each year. In Georgia carjacking/highjacking and Theft by Taking or receiving stolen property are felony motor vehicle crimes.

Under Ga code 16-8-2 a person commits the offense of theft by taking when he unlawfully takes, or being in lawful possession thereof, unlawfully appropriates any property of another with the intention of depriving him of the property, regardless of the manner in which the property is taken or appropriated.

Grand Theft means the automobile was worth more than $500 dollars therefore most automobile thefts would automatically qualify as grand theft. The penalty for grand theft, if the theft offense involves property valued at more than $500, is punishable as a felony, or as a misdemeanor, at the judge’s discretion under Ga code17-10-5. If charged as a felony, theft carries a sentence of imprisonment of not less than one year and not more than ten years. Theft of a motor vehicle or vehicle part worth more than $100 carries a sentence of one to 10 years of imprisonment. Highjacking or “carjacking” means the automobile was taken by force or against the owner’s will. Kidnapping may be related to auto theft charges – if there was a passenger in the vehicle at the time it was taken. Hijacking a motor vehicle carries a fine of up to $100,000 and up to 20 years in prison.

All of these details, in combination with a criminal record and value of the vehicle, can increase the sentence for theft by taking.

Auto Theft Task force
In Fulton County specifically, lawmakers have initiated a stolen vehicle recovery effort to curb the large number of older vehicles being stolen for scrap metal. The recovery effort is called “Operation Heavy Metal” and has a Task Force empowered to charge those that sell scrap metal to take responsibility for the stolen vehicles. In GA it is legal to sell a 12-year car for scrap metal without a title. While some take advantage of this legal loophole others may be mistakenly penalized under the enhanced efforts of the task force.

Theft by taking seems simple enough, yet when it comes to automobiles the details can mean the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor, therefore if you find yourself being charged with theft by taking do not hesitate to hire experience counsel to come to your defense.


If you are facing automobile theft charges in Georgia  call us today for help with your case at (404) 551-5684.