Theft by Receiving Stolen Property in Georgia

Theft by receiving stolen property

Facing charges related to theft can be a daunting experience, especially if you find yourself accused of a crime you didn’t commit. Theft by receiving stolen property is one such charge that can have serious consequences, even if you didn’t actively participate in the act of stealing.

For many charged with theft by receiving stolen property, it can come as a shock. In many instances, these individuals were simply unaware that they were receiving stolen property. However, simply stating that you did not know the property was stolen is not enough to drop these charges. It is crucial to know the intricacies behind these charges and to consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney to take the best course of action against these charges.

Understanding Theft by Receiving Stolen Property

Theft by receiving stolen property, as defined under Georgia law, occurs when an individual knowingly receives, disposes of, or retains stolen property that they know or should have known was stolen. This charge encompasses a wide range of scenarios, from knowingly purchasing stolen goods to simply possessing them without permission.

What Does It Mean to “Receive” Stolen Property?

“Receiving” in this context implies obtaining or controlling property that an individual knows, should have known, or has a strong suspicion has been stolen. The charge can arise when someone knowingly or recklessly acquires, possesses, conceals, or disposes of the stolen goods.

The individual receiving stolen property need not be the original thief. This offense can be committed by anyone who knowingly possesses or receives stolen items, regardless of their involvement in the initial theft.

Is Receiving Stolen Property a Felony?

In Georgia, theft by receiving stolen property can be classified as a felony offense, depending on the value of the stolen property. This means that if convicted, you could face significant penalties, including substantial fines and potential imprisonment.

Georgia Law on Theft by Receiving Stolen Property

O.C.G.A. §16-8-7(a) and O.C.G.A. § 16-8-8 of the Georgia Code outline the elements of theft by receiving stolen property and the associated penalties. To convict someone of this crime, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • The property in question was stolen,
  • The defendant knowingly received, disposed of, or retained the stolen property, and
  • The defendant knew or should have known that the property was stolen.

Penalties for Theft by Receiving Stolen Property

If convicted of theft by receiving stolen property in Georgia, the penalties can be severe depending on the value of the stolen property and other circumstances surrounding the case.

For property valued at $1,500 or less, it’s considered a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and confinement for up to 12 months. If the jail term is six months or less, the judge may allow weekend confinement or nonworking hours for serving the sentence.

Theft involving property valued between $1,500 and $5,000 is typically a felony, carrying a jail term between 1 and 5 years, though the judge may opt to charge it as a misdemeanor.

For property valued between $5,000 and $25,000, the judge can classify it as either a misdemeanor or a felony, punishable by a jail term of 1 to 10 years.

If the property exceeds $25,000 in value, it’s treated as a felony, punishable by a prison term of 2 to 20 years.

A felony conviction may also hinder your ability to secure employment, housing, or credit, and could lead to the revocation of professional licenses or certifications.

Moreover, the victim of the theft may pursue civil action against you, seeking monetary damages. These damages may include compensation for the value of the stolen property and any other losses incurred, as well as liquidated exemplary damages, (which can amount to $150 or twice the value of the loss if the total claim is under $5,000), along with the costs associated with the lawsuit.

Possible Defenses for Theft by Receiving Stolen Property

  • Lack of knowledge: You were unaware that the property in your possession was stolen. You must prove, however, that no reasonable person would have known or perceived the property as stolen.
  • Lack of intent: You did not knowingly receive, dispose of, or retain the stolen property.
  • Entrapment: You were coerced or persuaded by law enforcement to commit the crime.
  • Ownership: You believed you had legal ownership or permission to possess the property.

Why You Need Experienced Legal Representation

Having skilled criminal defense on your side is your best strategy in the face of these charges. Various factors could affect a theft by receiving case, but the right criminal defense attorney can help build the best defense for your specific case. 

If you or someone you know is facing charges of theft by receiving stolen property, don’t wait to seek legal counsel. Contact us today. We will help you fight back against these serious allegations and work towards a favorable outcome.

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