Larceny, known as theft by taking in Georgia, is the crime of taking of property owned by another individual. The person takes the property without consent of the property owner. They also take the property with the intent to permanently deprive the individual of their property. To permanently deprive the individual from their property includes keeping it or selling it. Anyone who buys property that has been acquired in this manner is guilty of receiving stolen property.
What Is the Law in Georgia With Regard to Receiving Stolen Property?
Receiving property that has been stolen is a crime in Georgia, where the crime is formally called "theft by receiving stolen property." A person is guilty of the crime of receiving stolen property when they purchase or accept without the intent to return it back to its rightful owner. A person must possess actual or constructive knowledge that the property was stolen, meaning that they either knew or should have known the property was stolen, in order to be guilty of this crime.
Can I Legally Buy Property in Georgia That Was Stolen from Another State?
No. It is a crime in Georgia to buy or accept any stolen property, regardless of where the property was originally stolen.
Is Buying Stolen Property the Same as Embezzlement in Georgia?
No. Embezzlement occurs when an entity lawfully entrusts funds to another person. Once in possession of the funds, the person uses the funds for a purpose other than the one that the lawful owner intended. Receiving stolen property involves receiving property that has been acquired illegally, unlike with embezzlement, where the original transfer of funds to the perpetrator was completely legal.
Will I Go to Prison for Buying Property That Was Stolen Outside of Georgia?
Whether one goes to prison for theft by receiving property that was stolen in another state depends on the value of the property that was involved in the crime. If the stolen property was valued at $1,500 or less, then the crime is a misdemeanor, which, at most, involves time in a county jail as part of its potential punishment. For any property valued above $1,500, then the crime is a felony and will result in a prison sentence, unless the judge lowers the crime to a misdemeanor. The amount of time that someone convicted of a felony will serve in prison depends on the value of the stolen property:
- $1,500 - $5,000: One to five years in prison
- $5,000 - $25,000: One to 10 years in prison
- $25,000 or more: Two to 20 years in prison
Should I Hire a Lawyer in Georgia?
It is important to hire legal representation to understand more about your defenses and how to resolve your case in your favor. Contact a Georgia lawyer immediately to start working on your case.