Is Receiving Stolen Goods a Felony?

Anyone may end up in the unpleasant position of facing charges with being in possession of or receiving stolen goods. It does not even matter if a theft charge was brought against someone else. Being found in the possession of stolen property is enough to get you charged. In this situation, you need to get in touch with a skilled Greenville criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

The main problem is that, in certain circumstances, the classification of the charge is felony, not simply misdemeanor. And the penalties for this type of offense are very severe.

How South Carolina Law Defines Receiving Stolen Goods

South Carolina Code 16-13-180 states that it is unlawful to buy, receive or possess goods that they know or have reason to believe that are stolen. The term goods is used in the most general term and includes both physical items and services or any kind of movable property.

You may be charged of being in possession of stolen goods even if:

  • You receive goods paid with a counterfeit check or currency
  • You access WiFi at a friend’s house from a network that your friend connects to illegally
  • You buy unreturned library books or CDs from a neighbor.

The list is endless and the trouble is that there is a fine line between knowingly and unknowingly accepting and possessing stolen property.

When Is Receiving Stolen Goods a Felony?

In our state, the total value of the stolen goods determines the classification of the offense. Thus:

  • If the value of the goods is under $2,000 you will be charged with misdemeanor, punishable by up to $1,000 fine or up to 30 days in jail
  • If the stolen goods are valued at between $2,000 and $10,000, the charge is still misdemeanor, but the penalties are at least $1,000 fine or up to 3 years in prison
  • If the value of the stolen goods exceeds $10,000, you will be charged with felony, punishable by at least $2,000 fine or up to 10 years in prison

As you can see, the penalties get steeper from threshold to threshold. For this reason, you cannot ignore the difficulty of the situation you are in or expect leniency from the prosecution or the judge.

 What Happens If You Are Charged with Receiving Several Items of Stolen Property?

In some cases, you may be found holding several stolen goods. Or, you may be charged with receiving and possessing stolen goods on consecutive occasions. In the first instance, the total value of the goods will represent the amount that will determine the classification of the offense.

possession of stolen goods is a crime

In the second instance, if you were charged with possessing or receiving stolen goods within a 90-days period, the instances will be counted as one offense. However, once again, the value of the goods will be added together and will determine if you will be charged with a misdemeanor or felony.

Fighting the Charge of Receiving Stolen Goods

Given the severity of the penalties, you should hire an experienced Greenville criminal defense lawyer immediately after being charged. A skilled attorney knows how to challenge the admissibility of evidence against you or the reasoning behind your charges.

The most common defenses are:

  • There was a misunderstanding and the goods were not actually stolen
  • You were mistakenly charged due to confusion of identity
  • The stolen goods were brought on your property without your knowledge
  • You had no reason to believe the goods were stolen.

These defenses may appear simple and easy to uphold – especially when you are 100% convinced of your innocence. But prosecutors want to close cases successfully as quickly as possible. They will fight to prove your guilt, using everything from your words to your intimidated attitude (which is natural for anyone facing criminal charges).

A good attorney is your only ally in this difficult situation, capable of defending your rights and proving your innocence.

Discuss Your Charges with a Skilled Greenville Criminal Defense Lawyer!

As you can see, you may find yourself charged with receiving stolen goods out of simple misunderstanding or even if you accepted the items in good faith. The only person who will believe in your innocence is an experienced Greenville criminal defense lawyer.

After examining the prosecution’s case against you, the attorney will prepare the best line of defense in order to obtain the best possible outcome.

Reach out to Boatwright Legal immediately after being charged and schedule a free case review at 864-332-4269!