In most jurisdictions, there are several laws centered around theft crimes and the activities and circumstances surrounding theft crimes. In North Carolina, like most jurisdictions, some of those laws involve circumstances in which the defendant is found in possession of stolen goods. In this blog, we will discuss the charge of Possession of Stolen Goods. Like all our blogs, this is intended for general informational purposes only and not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense lawyer.
The Crime of Possession of Stolen Goods
In North Carolina, the crime of Possession of Stolen Goods can be found in North Carolina General Statute 14.71.1. This statute covers Felony Possession of Stolen Goods and it states in part:
“If any person shall possess any chattel, property, money, valuable security or other thing whatsoever, the stealing or taking whereof amounts to larceny or a felony, either at common law or by virtue of any statute made or hereafter to be made, such person knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe the same to have been feloniously stolen or taken, he shall be guilty of a Class H felony…”
North Carolina also covers possession of stolen goods under North Carolina General Statute 14-72. This statute covers Larceny, Receiving Stolen Goods, and Possession of Stolen Goods. The misdemeanor version of Possession of Stolen Goods can be found under this statute and can apply in certain circumstances with goods valued at less than $1,000.
Punishment for Possession of Stolen Goods
As mentioned above, Possession of Stolen Goods can either be a misdemeanor or a felony. If the crime is charged and moves forward as a misdemeanor, it follows the North Carolina Misdemeanor Sentencing Guidelines. If it is charged and moves forward as a felony, it follows the North Carolina Felony Sentencing Guidelines. Both can involve jail time, probation, or both. Further, like all other crimes, there are collateral consequences that can affect someone convicted of this crime.
Defending a Possession of Stolen Goods charge
When someone is charged with a crime, there are only about three ways that the case will end: a dismissal, a plea, or a criminal trial. In a criminal trial, the strategy employed by your criminal defense lawyer would depend on the facts and circumstances of your case.
Criminal trials on Possession of Stolen Goods would likely focus on the possession element and whether or not the state could prove either actual or constructive possession beyond a reasonable doubt. Another issue in said trial may be whether or not the defendant knew or reasonably should have known the goods in question were stolen.