Receiving Stolen Property in Mississippi

Receiving Stolen Property in Mississippi

In accordance with Section 97-17-70 of the Mississippi Code Annotated, it is illegal to receive stolen property in Mississippi.  The crime of receiving stolen property is committed when a person “intentionally possesses, receives, retains or disposes of stolen property knowing that it has been stolen or having reasonable grounds to believe it has been stolen, unless the property is possessed, received, retained or disposed of with intent to restore it to the owner.”

According to the statute, it does not matter that the person that actually stole the property has not been caught, charged, convicted, or even identified, you can still be convicted of receiving stolen property if the State can prove:

  1. the possession, receipt, retention or disposition of personal property;
  2. stolen from someone else; and
  3. with knowledge or a reasonable belief that the property is stolen.

Washington v. State, 726 So.2d 209 (Miss. Ct. App. 1998).  Further, evidence that you stole the property, instead of just received it knowing it was stolen, is not a defense to the specific crime of receiving, and in fact the statute calls it “prima facie” evidence of your knowledge that you knew the property was stolen.  BUT, the State is not allowed to bring charges of both larceny and receiving against a single person in a single jurisdiction.  So your lawyer will definitely need to get that straightened out at the beginning of your case.

Penalties for Receiving Stolen Property

  1. Property less than $500.00 – misdemeanor, fine of not more than $1000.00 plus court costs, jail of not more than six months, or both.
  2. Property $500.00 or more – felony, fine of not more than $1000.00 plus court costs, jail of not more than six months, or both.

Defenses to Receiving Stolen Property

When you discuss your case with your lawyer, you need to discuss whether you may have a “claim of right” defense (the property is yours, or you had a good reason to thing it was yours).  You also need to look at the value of the property, and what, exactly, your intent was.  Also, do not forget that before the State can prove that you received stolen property, they must show that you possessed it, which comes with “baggage” of its own.

If you need help with a receiving charge give us a call or email.  We are here to help.