Buying things online and through websites makes it easier than ever to find items that you need or want. Whether you are purchasing a new or used item, you will want to make sure that it is not stolen, or you could get into legal trouble. It is illegal to purchase or have stolen property in your possession. Unfortunately, sometimes you could face charges for stolen property that you did not take. If you are charged with possession of stolen property, you will want to fight the charges with help from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
What is Possession or Receipt of Stolen Goods?
North Carolina statute 14-72 includes larceny, possession of stolen goods, and receipt of stolen goods. Possession of stolen goods is “knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe them to be stolen” through larceny. Possession or receipt of stolen goods simply means that you have stolen property in your possession. Your possession could be in your home, your vehicle, on your person, or any place to which you have access. For instance, a person might keep property in a shed or garage.
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Penalties if Found Guilty of Possession of Stolen Goods
When the stolen goods have a value of more than $1,000, the crime of possession of stolen goods is a Class H felony. A conviction of possession of stolen goods could result in a penalty of up to 24 months in prison. In addition, you could face community service and fines, as well as probation. The judge has some leeway in the sentence, and any prior convictions will have a negative impact on the punishment. A felony conviction could also limit employment opportunities and make it difficult to get an apartment or apply for college.
Elements of a Possession of Stolen Goods Case
In order to prove possession of stolen goods, the prosecution must demonstrate the following elements:
- The property was stolen
- The defendant had possession of the property
- The defendant knew or had reasonable grounds to believe the property was stolen
- The defendant had possession of the property for a dishonest purpose
It is important to note that although you may not have been told the property was stolen, you should have reasonably thought it was. For example, the price that you pay for the purchase of stolen goods may be extremely low. A reasonable person would know that the price could not be that low unless the goods were stolen. Another sign that property could be stolen is when the serial number is missing or intentionally scratched off an item.
A person may be in possession of stolen property to hold it for someone else. You do not have to have paid for the property in order to be charged with possession of stolen goods. Concealment of stolen property is included in the possession of stolen property statute.
If you have been charged with possession or receipt of stolen property, it is something to take seriously. An experienced criminal defense attorney will present a strong defense to the charges and help you resolve the situation. To learn more about possession of stolen property charges, call us today at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828.
The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights, and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.
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