Theft by Receiving Stolen Property in DeKalb County

A person commits the offense of theft by receiving stolen property when s/he receives, disposes of, or retains stolen property which s/he knows or should have known was stolen unless the property is received, disposed of, or retained with the intent to restore it to the owner. “Receiving” means acquiring possession or control or lending on the security of the property.  OCGA § 16-8-7. Guns and cars are the most common property associated with theft by receiving stolen property charges.

In order to sustain a conviction for theft by receiving the state is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused KNEW the property was stolen. That knowledge can be inferred (i.e. should have known) by circumstances that would be suspicious to an ordinary prudent person. For example, if you buy a brand-new Mercedes G Wagon for $5,000 and it turns out to be stolen, a jury is authorized to believe you knew it was stolen. It would be unreasonable to the average person that a brand-new car that normally costs upwards of $200,000 would be sold for $5,000. Now if we are talking about a Nissan Ultima, that $5,000 price cannot show knowledge that it was stolen because the price is reasonable. Certain damage to a vehicle, like a broken steering column or the locks being punched out, can also imply the necessary knowledge. It is much more difficult for the state to prove knowledge of a stolen gun. The Georgia appellate courts have found that purchasing a gun on the street at a reduced price or the gun being labeled “for law enforcement use” is not enough but it can be shown if the serial number has been filed off.

If you or a loved one has been charged with theft by receiving stolen property, give us a call for a free consultation.