In Georgia, it is a crime to receive and keep any items that a person knows or should know that the item was stolen. That type of charge comes up often in cases involving firearms. The law specifically outlaws theft by receiving a stolen firearm regardless of the value of the firearm, and treats the case more seriously than a regular theft case.
The Georgia charges for stolen firearms may lead to stiffer penalties than the generic charge for theft by receiving stolen property. This is because the crime of theft by receiving is automatically charged as a felony if the property in question is a firearm. If you have been charged with theft by receiving stolen firearms in Georgia, you should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. That’s because this is a serious charge that can lead to up to many years in prison.
That being said, this type of charge is fightable in most circumstances due to the protections Georgia has for firearm holders. It is essential to hire an attorney with vast experience in Theft by Receiving Stolen Firearms cases because it can mean the difference between a felony conviction and a dismissal.
Theft By Receiving Stolen Property Law in Georgia
Theft by receiving stolen property is committed when someone willingly takes possession of property that they know or should have known has been stolen. The property must have been stolen by somebody else, or the thief must be unknown for this charge to apply. You don’t have to keep the property to be charged with this crime. If you dispose of property that you know or should have known was stolen, you may still be charged with theft by receiving stolen property.
In general, the seriousness of a theft by receiving stolen property crime in Georgia depends on the value of the property stolen. That does not apply to firearms. Georgia law specifically makes it a felony when the item in question is a firearm, and a person faces punishment of up to 1-10 years in prison.
Penalties for Theft By Receiving Stolen Firearms in Georgia
The penalty for theft by receiving stolen firearms in Georgia is a minimum of one to 10 years in prison. For a second conviction for Theft by Receiving Stolen Firearms, the punishment is increased to a mandatory 5 years and up to 10 years in prison. Additionally, by law the crime is always considered a felony.
There are numerous defenses against a theft by receiving stolen firearms charges. This charge can be difficult for the prosecutor to prove, as they have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you either knew or should have known that the gun was stolen. The most common defenses against this charge include not knowing the gun was stolen, not intending to receive the stolen gun, or intending to return the gun to its rightful owner soon after receiving it.
You Did Not Know The Gun Was Stolen
Perhaps the most common defense against this charge is simply not knowing that the gun was stolen. It can be very hard for the prosecutors to prove otherwise.
Police have a database accessible to law enforcement wherein the serial number for stolen firearms are held. This database is only accessible by law enforcement. As such, essentially every firearm is traceable in some capacity by law enforcement.
The public, however, does not have access to the stolen firearm database. Thus, the only way to know if a firearm is stolen when the serial number is intact is to run the firearm through the system. Law Enforcement is often unwilling to run firearms through the system for prospective gun buyers because Law Enforcement wants the guns off the street.
That leaves prospective gun buyers in a difficult position that Georgia law has changed to accommodate. The law as it sits right now essentially says that if a person cannot tell if a firearm is stolen by either looking at the firearm or due to the surrounding circumstances, they are not guilty of theft by receiving. Thus, any case where a person is charged with theft by receiving a stolen firearm when the serial number is intact has a legitimate defense.
We have fought and won these types of charges multiple times all over the State using this Defense. Simply purchasing a firearm for a very low price is not enough.
You Didn’t Intend to Receive the Stolen Gun
Another common defense is that you did not intend to receive or possess the stolen gun. For example, someone may have handed you a sealed box for safekeeping. If this box contained a stolen firearm but you weren’t aware of its contents, you may have a strong defense against a theft by receiving charge.
You Intended to Return the Gun
If you intended to return the gun, this may be used in your defense. This can be a very effective defense when there is proof that you intended to return the gun to its rightful owner. For example, if you notified the rightful owner of the firearm by text message of your intent to return their gun, you have a very strong defense.
Get an Experienced Attorney to Fight Theft By Receiving Stolen Firearms Charges
If you have been charged with theft by receiving stolen firearms, you should hire an attorney immediately. It’s important to hire a law firm that has handled such cases successfully in the past. The Freedom Lawyers in Atlanta, Georgia have successfully defended many clients in similar cases charged with theft by receiving stolen firearms.. They can help guide you through every step of the legal process so that you have the best chance to beat this charge. If you have been charged with theft by receiving a stolen firearm in Georgia, hire The Freedom Lawyers for your legal defense. Contact the Freedom Lawyers now for a free consultation on your Theft by Receiving Stolen Firearms case.