Like other larceny crimes in the Commonwealth of Virginia, receiving or concealing stolen goods can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense depending on the value of the property. These crimes are prosecuted as harshly as if the person had stolen the goods in his possession himself.
If you have been charged with this crime, you may have defenses that can help you get the charges dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. However, you will need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Fairfax to build a strong defense strategy for you.
What Is the Crime of Receiving or Concealing Stolen Goods in Virginia?
Virginia Code § 18.2-108 makes it a crime to buy or receive from another person or aid in concealing stolen goods or other things, knowing that they were stolen. There are a number of elements to this crime that the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order for a defendant to be found guilty:
- Buying, Receiving, or Aiding in the Concealment. The Commonwealth must prove that the accused bought, received, or concealed the stolen goods or things. This requires proof that the individual had possession of the stolen items and exerted control or dominion over them.
- Stolen goods. The goods or other items must have been stolen. However, in undercover police operations, it is enough for the Commonwealth to prove that the defendant believed the goods to be stolen, even if they were not in fact stolen.
- From another person. In order to be convicted of this offense, the prosecutor must prove that the goods or things were stolen by another person.
- Knew goods were stolen. It must be proved that the accused knew or believed that the items were stolen when he bought or received them or aided in their concealment.
It can be difficult for the prosecutor to prove that the offender knew that the goods or things were stolen if there is no confession or statements by the accused. In this situation, circumstantial evidence may be used to establish this element of the crime. Examples of this type of evidence include:
- Purchase of the stolen property at extremely low prices
- Purchase of other stolen items in the past or at the same time
- Purchase of goods from a known criminal
- Purchase of items that have security tags on them
- Purchase of a motor vehicle with no title or with a broken ignition
It is also a crime under Virginia Code § 18.2-108 to buy or obtain goods or other things used in a criminal investigation by law enforcement when the person knows that they are stolen.
Penalties for Receiving or Concealing Stolen Goods
If the value of the goods or things received, bought, or concealed is less than $500, the offense is petit larceny. Petit larceny is a misdemeanor in Virginia. If the value of the items is $500 or more, the charge would be grand larceny, which is a felony. The penalties for each are:
- Petit larceny: Jail sentence of up to 12 months and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
- Grand larceny: Prison sentence of one to 20 years, or a local jail sentence of no more than 12 months and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
Larceny With Intent to Sell and Sale of Stolen Property
Another related offense is larceny with the intent to sell and sale of stolen property. Virginia Code § 18.2-108.01 makes the following a crime:
- A person who commits larceny of property that is valued at $500 or more with the intent to sell or distribute the property is guilty of a felony. The punishment would be a sentence of two to 20 years in prison.
- A person who sells, attempts to sell, or possesses with the intent to sell or distribute property valued at more than $500 where he knew or should have known it was stolen is guilty of a Class 5 felony. The sentence is up to 10 years in prison and/or up to twelve months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
If you have been charged with one of these crimes, our skilled criminal defense attorneys are here to aggressively fight the charges you face so that you achieve the best possible outcome. We have decades of experience representing clients arrested for theft and other serious crimes in Fairfax, Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Call our Fairfax office or start a live chat to schedule your free consultation today to learn more about how we can assist you.