Crimes against property are treated very seriously in Georgia. Some of these types of offenses are misdemeanors, while others are felonies which can potentially carry lengthy prison sentences. Andrew B. Margolis is an experienced Atlanta criminal attorney who can help you with your case. The following is some information on the most commonly charged property crimes in Georgia:
Burglary: Contrary to popular belief, a person does not have to “break in” to a home or building to be charged with Burglary. Any unlawful unauthorized entry, whether forced or not, made with the intent to commit either a theft or a felony inside, can be charged as a burglary. Burglary is a felony punishable by one (1) to twenty (20) years in prison for a first offense. There are higher mandatory minimums for repeat offenders.
Criminal Trespass: Any one of these scenarios can result in charges of Criminal Trespass being brought:
- Knowing and unauthorized entry onto someone’s land, premises or vehicle for an unlawful purpose;
- Knowing and unauthorized entry onto someone’s land, premises or vehicle after receiving notice that entry is forbidden;
- Remaining on someone’s land, premises, etc., after being told by the owner or rightful occupant to leave.
A person can also commit Criminal Trespass by intentionally damaging another’s property, when the monetary amount of the damage is $500 or less. Damage resulting in more than $500 worth of loss will be charged as the felony offense of Criminal Damage to Property in the 2nd Degree, described next.
Criminal Trespass is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of twelve (12) months in jail.
Criminal Damage to Property (2nd Degree): The intentional damaging of another person’s property when the amount of damage exceeds $500 will be charged as Criminal Damage to Property in the 2nd Degree. This offense can also be charged if a person damages another’s property by means of fire or explosive, either intentionally or recklessly. Criminal Damage to Property in the 2nd Degree is a felony, punishable by a minimum of one (1) year and a maximum of five (5) years in prison.
Police and prosecutors will often overcharge these types of cases so an experienced Atlanta criminal attorney is essential. For example, many of our clients find themselves charged with Burglary when their actions may only rise to the level of Criminal Trespass. Don’t let yourself get steamrolled by the State. If you’re not guilty, let Atlanta Criminal Lawyer Andrew B. Margolis help you prove it. If you’ve been charged with an offense more serious than the one you actually committed, we can help.