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Roger
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Why isnt failure to pay for child care services not considered

Resolved Question:

Why isn't failure to pay for child care services not considered a criminal "theft of service" act?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Roger replied 6 years ago.

Failure to pay for child care services can be prosecuted under the "Theft of Services" law, it is just very hard to prove.

 

The statute says:

 

O.C.G.A. § 16-8-5. Theft of services

A person commits the offense of theft of services when by deception and with the intent to avoid payment he knowingly obtains services, accommodations, entertainment, or the use of personal property which is available only for compensation.

 

The main thing one has to prove is that the person actually intended to secure the services without paying for them.

 

This issue was actually in front of the Ga. Supreme Court in Williamson v. State, 191 Ga. App. 388. In this case, the complainant agreed to keep defendant's child for a set period of time in exchange for a fixed sum while defendant and her husband worked out of town. Defendant did not pay the complainant as agreed. Defendant claimed that she was unable to pay the complainant because she was not paid for the out of town job and offered testimony at trial that this was the only reason that she did not pay the complainant as agreed. The supreme court found that the State had not produced sufficient evidence of defendant's intent to sustain her conviction under § 16-8-5. The court found that there was no direct evidence that defendant obtained services by deception and with the intention of avoiding payment. Because the case was circumstantial and the evidence was equally consistent with the theory that defendant merely breached a civil contract as it was with the theory that she intended to procure the complainant's services without paying for them, the court held that the State failed to carry its burden of proof.

 

 



Edited by Kirk Adams on 12/1/2010 at 9:23 PM EST
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