In Georgia, like other theft offenses, a theft by conversion charge can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the property converted. According to § O.C.G.A. 16-8-4, theft by conversion occurs when a person lawfully obtains another individual’s funds or property and then unlawfully converts such property to his/her own use.
In order to convict an accused for theft by conversion, the elements of the offense must be proven by the prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The accused lawfully obtained funds or property of another;
- The funds or property were obtained by an agreement between the accused and the owner;
- The agreement required that the accused used the funds/property for a particular purpose;
- However, instead, the accused knowingly converted the property for his/her own use.
Value of Property
In determining whether the theft by conversion charge will be characterized as a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the value of the property converted. In Georgia, funds or property valued at less than $500 are generally charged as misdemeanors. Alternatively, if the property in question is valued at a price greater than $500, the prosecution may file felony charges against the accused.
In these types of cases, the value of the property is determined by properly measuring the fair cash market value either at the time and place of the alleged theft or any stage during the receipt or concealment of the property in question.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can assert affirmative defenses to either request a reduction in the penalties of a theft by conversion conviction or receive a dismissal of all charges. Thus, it is vitally important to hire a seasoned criminal defense attorney to defend you against such allegations.
Such affirmative defenses include, but are not limited to:
- Lack of intent;
- Accused used the property as intended;
- Intoxication, if it negates intent;
- Charges should be reduced, because the property value was less than the prosecution alleged.
At the Law Offices of W. Scott Smith, our lawyers are trained to know all affirmative defenses for the offense of theft by conversion, as well as all possible options for an accused dealing with such a serious offense. We are experienced and skilled at defending such allegations and we work tirelessly to advocate for our clients and their constitutional rights. Therefore, if you or a loved one has been arrested for theft by conversion, please call our office today at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.