Understanding the offense of receiving stolen goods in North Carolina

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

In North Carolina, possessing stolen property can be just as serious as the act of theft itself. After all, the law generally discourages individuals from benefiting from the proceeds of crime.

This blog aims to shed light on what constitutes the crime of receiving stolen goods under North Carolina law and the potential legal consequences.

What is “receiving stolen goods?”

It takes more than a piece of stolen merchandise falling on someone’s lap for them to face criminal charges.

According to state law, anyone who knowingly receives any stolen money, property, or valuable security – while being aware or having reasonable grounds to believe the property is stolen – commits the offense of receiving stolen goods.

Key elements of the offense

There are three elements to the offense of receiving stolen goods. Namely:

  • Knowledge that a theft occurred: The person knew or should have reasonably known that the goods were stolen.
  • Possession of the stolen goods: Actual or constructive possession of the property is necessary for this charge to apply.
  • Value of the stolen goods: The offense is either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the value of the goods.

If you’re facing charges for receiving stolen goods, expect to see these three elements mentioned a lot in your court hearing.

Legal consequences

A person convicted of receiving stolen goods faces the same penalties as those convicted of larceny. As mentioned, the value of the stolen property determines the criminal grade and punishments awaiting the person:

  • Value of stolen property or goods is less than $1,000: This is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries up to 45 days of imprisonment for a first offense. The court may also impose a fine as part of the penalties.
  • Value of stolen property or goods is more than $1,000: This is a Class H felony, punishable by up to 39 months of imprisonment.

Receiving stolen goods is a significant offense in North Carolina and one that carries hefty penalties. Understanding the severity of this charge and the importance of the knowledge element can be crucial for anyone facing such accusations. If you find yourself in such a situation, it’s important to seek legal counsel immediately to explore your options and build a strong defense.