Theft of services is the crime of obtaining a service by deceiving the provider of the service. At the time of procuring the service, the perpetrator intends to not provide any payment for the service.
Examples of services that may be obtained in this manner include:
- Internet access
- Cleaning services
- Use of a rental car or boat
- Use of a rental property
- Spa treatments
- Car or home repairs
Are Larceny and Theft of Services the Same Crime in Georgia?
No. Larceny is the crime of taking property belonging to someone else without their permission and with the intent to permanently deprive them of their property. This is different from theft of services because theft of services focuses on obtaining a service, rather than obtaining an item.
Is Theft of Services Just a Misdemeanor?
While the theft of services valued at $1,500 or lower is only a misdemeanor, the theft of any services valued at more than $1,500 is a felony crime. However, a judge may, at their discretion, lower a felony theft of services charge down to a misdemeanor. The likelihood of the lowering of a theft of services charge from a felony to a misdemeanor depends on the facts of the case.
What Is the Punishment for a Felony Theft of Services Charge?
The punishment that one faces for a felony theft of services charge depends on the vault of the services that were stolen:
- One to five years in prison if the services are worth more than $1,500 but less than $5,000
- Imprisonment of one to 10 years if the services are valued at an amount between $5,000 and $24,999.99
- A prison sentence of two to 20 years if the value of the services is $25,000 or more
What Are Some Defenses I Can Use in My Theft of Services Case?
The specific defenses a person can use in their felony theft of services case depend on the circumstances. However, general theft of services defenses include:
- Proof of payment for the services
- The person was legally entitled to the services, but there was some sort of mix-up such as the wrong personal identification information used when the bill was sent
- Misunderstanding as to whether the services were requested
- False claims were made against the person accused of taking the services without paying
Do I Need to Speak to a Lawyer About My Theft of Services Charge?
Yes. It is imperative you talk to a Georgia criminal lawyer about your theft of services charge to understand more about fighting the charge. You can discuss possible defenses and reducing the felony charge to a misdemeanor with your lawyer.