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Receiving Stolen Goods as a Gift

Receiving stolen goods is a serious crime in North Carolina, as it undermines the integrity of the state's criminal justice system and encourages illegal activities. However, not all cases of receiving stolen goods involve malicious intent on the part of the recipient. In some instances, individuals may unwittingly receive stolen goods as a gift, raising questions about their culpability and potential defenses.


The Law of Receiving Stolen Goods in North Carolina

North Carolina General Statutes, Chapter 14, Article 16, specifically addresses the offense of receiving stolen goods. According to N.C.G.S. § 14-71.1, it is unlawful to knowingly receive, possess, buy, or aid in selling stolen property. The statute requires that the person receiving the stolen goods must have knowledge that the property is stolen.

Penalties for the Crime of Receiving Stolen Goods

In North Carolina, the penalties for receiving stolen goods depend on the value of the stolen property and the offender's criminal history. Generally, the crime is classified as a felony. The potential penalties are as follows:

  • Misdemeanor Larceny: If the value of the stolen property is less than $1,000, and the offender has no prior criminal record, the offense may be charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor. The punishment can include fines and up to 120 days of imprisonment.

  • Felony Larceny: If the value of the stolen property exceeds $1,000 or if the offender has previous convictions, the offense may be charged as a felony. Felony larceny convictions carry more severe penalties, including potential imprisonment for several months or years, depending on the circumstances.

Defenses to Receiving Stolen Goods

  • Lack of Knowledge: One of the primary defenses to receiving stolen goods is proving that the recipient had no knowledge that the property was stolen. If it can be established that the recipient received the goods in good faith, without any suspicion of their stolen nature, they may avoid criminal liability.

  • Mistake of Fact: Another possible defense is a mistake of fact. If the recipient genuinely believed that the gift was legitimate and had no reason to suspect its stolen nature, this defense could be utilized to challenge the charges.

  • Lack of Evidence: Challenging the prosecution's evidence and establishing the absence of direct or circumstantial evidence linking the recipient to the stolen property may also lead to a successful defense.

Coastal South Law Firm Provides Legal Assistance for Those Accused of Receiving Stolen Goods


If you or someone you know has been accused of receiving stolen goods in North Carolina, seeking legal representation is crucial to protect your rights and build a robust defense. The Coastal South Law Firm, with offices in Bolivia and Wilmington, North Carolina, is well-equipped to assist individuals facing charges related to receiving stolen goods. Our firm's experienced criminal defense attorneys understand the intricacies of North Carolina's laws and have a proven track record of successfully defending clients in similar cases.


We offer personalized legal services, meticulously examining the details of each case to identify the most suitable defense strategy. Whether it is challenging the prosecution's evidence, arguing a lack of knowledge or mistake of fact, or negotiating for reduced charges, the Coastal South Law Firm works tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients. Contact us now for a confidential and non-judgmental consultation.

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