Technology such as doorbell cameras has become more popular each year and so have delivery services. Especially during COVID-19, it was much more convenient and safe to have a package from Amazon or groceries from the store dropped off at your door rather than going out shopping on your own. Despite the technological advancements of doorbell cameras, porch piracy has also been on the rise. Not only has it made it more convenient for law enforcement to catch these thieves, but it is also now easier to prosecute them too. If porch piracy is committed in Georgia, those convicted of the crime will now face harsher punishments.
Georgia HB 94
House Bill 94 officially went into effect on July 1, 2021. This bill targets porch pirates or those who steal mail or packages that don’t belong to them. Individuals who are found with packages from three or more different addresses other than their own or have ten or more pieces of stolen mail will now be charged with a felony. If convicted, a judge could sentence an individual up to five years in prison. However, a judge can decide if the crime should be classified as a misdemeanor instead, which would make the punishment not as severe.
Lawmakers who supported the bill said their hope was to deter theft rings from committing crimes since a felony consequence was harsher. Opponents of the bill said the new classification “overcriminalizes” a criminal’s actions in what they called a low-value crime.
It’s important to note that generally in Georgia property of $500 or less that is stolen is considered a misdemeanor in the eyes of law enforcement while thefts of $500 or more are considered felonies. When a porch pirate takes an item, they usually do not know what is inside the package and its value. This is why some lawmakers questioned the new felony status of the crime as porch pirates could take three packages from a home but the total value could be less than $500.
If You Are Facing Theft Charges Contact The Abt Law Firm, LLC
If you are charged with a theft that falls under the new rules in House Bill 94, it is crucial to have a team of legal experts by your side. That’s where The Abt Law Firm, LLC can come in to help. With more than 26 years of experience, our team has seen new laws take effect and has helped individuals facing tough accusations. For all your criminal defense needs turn to The Abt Law Firm, LLC. Reach out to us today at (678) 582-2272.