How do Georgia’s theft laws handle taking packages left outside?

On Behalf of | Nov 16, 2022 | Criminal Law

Georgia’s theft laws classify taking packages from someone’s porch or doorstep as a felony. As reported by 11Alive.com, the Peach State also gives judges the discretion to decide when package theft offenses may classify as a misdemeanor instead.

If prosecutors allege a defendant took packages delivered and left outside of another individual’s home, it may require a strong defense to avoid a felony charge conviction. In some cases, however, judges may consider the value of the contents or how many packages a defendant allegedly took.

The number and type of items taken may influence outcomes

To obtain a conviction, a prosecutor must prove that the defendant took at least three delivered parcels. Package types may include items ordered online or groceries left outside during a “contactless” delivery.

Law enforcement officials may also press for felony charges involving individuals who allegedly took envelopes delivered by the United States Postal Service. For the court to convict, however, prosecutors must prove that the defendants took a minimum of 10 letters or mail pieces. The mail taken must also show at least three different addresses to charge someone with a felony.

Content value could affect the judge’s ruling

If the contents of a letter or package have a value greater than $1,500, the offense may classify as a felony. In cases of contents worth less than $1,500, a judge has the discretion to review the circumstances and consider the offense a misdemeanor under Georgia’s statutes.

It may not matter whether the U.S. Postal Service delivered a package or if a private carrier brought it. If the driver left it on a doorstep or in a mailbox, a prosecutor may attempt to convince the court that justice requires a felony conviction. You may, however, defend against a felony charge and argue for a misdemeanor classification.

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