Lost property is any property where the true owner cannot be found after making an ordinary, diligent, search. The true owner no longer has the property in their control because of negligence or accident. Mislaid property is any property voluntarily given up. The owner temporarily and voluntarily gives up the property with the intent on coming back for it later. The owner either forgets about the property or it is found by someone before they return.

Who Has the Right to Mislaid or Lost Property?

The person who finds the property must give it to the true owner who lost it. If the owner cannot be found after a genuine effort is made to locate them, then the person who found the property can keep it without facing any criminal charges.

What Is the Law in Georgia Regarding Lost or Mislaid Property?

It is against the law in Georgia to retain possession of property a person knows or learns has been mislaid or lost without making an effort to return the property to its owner. The law prohibits anyone to keep property of another without making an effort to find the owner and return their property.

Will I Get in Trouble If I Do Not Try to Find the True Owner of the Property?

Yes. A person is required to search for the true owner of the property. Depending on the value of the property, a person can be charge with a misdemeanor or felony. If the property value is less than $1,500.01, then the crime is a misdemeanor. However, if the value exceeds $1,500, then the crime is a felony.

What Is the Punishment for a Felony Conviction of Keeping Lost or Mislaid Property?

The punishment for a felony conviction of keeping mislaid or lost property varies depending on the financial worth of the property. If the property value is above $1,500 and below $5,000, then the punishment is imprisonment for one to five years. A defendant faces one to 10 years in prison if the value is between $5,000 and $25,000. Finally, if the value amount is at or above $25,000, then the penalty is a prison sentence of two to 20 years.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Me with My Case?

Yes. It is vital to understand your legal rights whenever you are facing a felony charge. Contact a Georgia criminal lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights.