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theft by receiving


Before every National Football League (NFL) game, a select group of players from both teams meet at midfield to determine which team will take possession of the football first. A referee flips a coin and the winner of the coin flip decides whether to kick the ball or to receive the ball.

In the criminal world, there is no winners when someone decides to receive stolen property.

Theft by receiving in Georgia carries substantial penalties that include time behind bars. If you have been charged with a theft by receiving crime, you need the legal counsel of a Georgia licensed criminal defense attorney who specializes in theft cases.

Georgia law has two different sections that address theft by receiving. The first section defines the crime of receiving stolen property, and the second section describes receiving property that was stolen in another state.

Theft by Receiving Stolen Property

Georgia statute O.C.G.A. §16-8-7(a) reads “states a person commits the offense of theft by receiving stolen property when he receives, disposes of, or retains stolen property which knows or should know was stolen unless the property is received, disposed of, or retained with intent to restore it to the owner. Receiving means, acquiring possession or control or lending on the security of the property.”

There must be four legal elements present for someone to be found guilty of theft by receiving in Georgia. First, the accused must have received or purchased stolen goods. Second, the goods must have been stolen by another person. Third, the defendant knew the goods were stolen. Finally, the defendant received the stolen goods with the intent to commit a crime.


Theft by Receiving Property Stolen in another State

The next section of Georgia law, which is statute O.C.G.A. § 16-8-8 reads a “person commits the offense of theft by receiving property stolen in another state when he receives, disposes of, or retains stolen property which he knows or should know was stolen in another state, unless the property is received, disposed of, or retained with intent to restore it to the owner.”


Burden of Proof

For all criminal cases in Georgia, the prosecution must prove a defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is the highest burden of proof bar for criminal cases, which means all your Georgia criminal defense lawyer has to do is to convince just one juror there is doubt as to whether you committed a theft by receiving crime. In addition, the prosecution must prove the transaction of stolen goods took place, as well prove the accused had prior knowledge that the goods were acquired by theft.


The evidence does not have to be established by testimony from eyewitnesses. Circumstantial evidence, which can be the character of the person that gave away the stolen goods, plays a major role in determining guilt in a Georgia theft by receiving case. The possibility of circumstantial evidence coming into play makes it important for defendants in theft by receiving cases to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Theft by Receiving Penalties

Whether the accused is charged with a theft by receiving felony or misdemeanor depends on the value of the property stolen. A misdemeanor for theft by receiving results in a jail sentence up to one year and a fine that cannot exceed $1,000. If the value of the property in a theft by receiving crime exceeds $500, the crime is considered a felony. A theft by receiving felony conviction requires a minimum of a one-year prison sentence, with the maximum sentence running 10 years. Georgia criminal court judges have the discretion to impose harsher sentences for special circumstances, such as when a defendant has a prior felony conviction.

Possible Defenses for a Georgia Theft by Receiving Charge

When you work with the highly rated team of criminal defense lawyers at Garland Law Group, you can rest assured we will explore every possible defense to plant the all-important seed of doubt into the minds of the jury.

Here are the most common defenses used in theft by receiving cases in Georgia:

  • You had permission to receive the property

  • You did not know the property was stolen

  • You already received a robbery conviction for the theft by receiving charge

  • You did not intend to receive stolen property

  • You are innocent


The last defense of innocent requires our team of criminal defense specialists to present a compelling alibi backed up by at least one credible witness. We will also present evidence that you did not commit the crime, such as displaying a receipt of purchase for the goods in question.


Let Garland Law Group Help You Beat a Theft by Receiving Charge

Do not take a theft by receiving charge lightly. Because of the seriousness of the charge, the State of Georgia will have the highest skilled prosecutors go after you with every prosecuting technique permitted by Georgia law. The team of theft by receiving attorneys at Garland Law Group understands the fear and anxiety that accompanies a felony charge. We will fight hard to ensure you receive the most persuasive legal counsel for your theft by receiving case.

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