In general, receiving stolen property is the crime of accepting or purchasing items known or believed to have been stolen. This a separate crime from larceny. The crime of larceny, known in Georgia as theft by taking, is the taking of property of another without consent and with the intent to permanently deprive. Thus, with larceny, the property is being stolen, while under receiving stolen property, the property has already been stolen before the perpetrator accepts or purchases it.
How Does Georgia Define the Crime of Theft by Receiving Stolen Property?
Theft by receiving stolen property occurs when a person disposes of, accepts, or retains property they know or should have known was stolen. They must do this without intending to restore the property to the original owner from whom the property was stolen.
Can I Be Convicted of Receiving Stolen Property When I Planned to Return the Items?
No. Anyone accepting or purchasing stolen property with the intent to give it back to the lawful owner is not guilty of receiving stolen property. This is because they lack the intent to benefit from receiving the stolen items.
Does the State Have to Charge Me with Larceny Before Proving I Received Stolen Property?
No. According to Georgia law, a person does not have to be charged with theft by taking, or larceny, to be charged with receiving stolen property. This is because person is not accused of stealing the property. Instead, they are accused of merely receiving the property after the property was already stolen.
What Are Some Defenses to Receiving Stolen Property?
Defenses to receiving stolen property include:
- Lack of evidence
- Lack of knowledge or belief of the stolen status of the property
Is Theft by Receiving Stolen Property a Misdemeanor or a Felony in Georgia?
Theft by receiving stolen property can be either a misdemeanor or a felony in Georgia. Whether is it a felony or a misdemeanor depends on the value of the stolen property. It is a misdemeanor if the property is worth $1,500 or less. Otherwise, the crime is a felony.
What Is the Penalty for Receiving Stolen Property in Georgia?
In Georgia the punishment for a misdemeanor receiving stolen goods conviction is $1,000 fine and maximum 12 months in county jail.
Should I Contact a Lawyer for Help?
Absolutely. You have defenses available to fight your receiving stolen goods charge. Contact a Georgia lawyer immediately to start working on it.