If you’re charged with possession of or receiving stolen property in Mississippi, here are some things you need to know.
A person is guilty of possession of stolen property or receiving stolen property under Mississippi law if he intentionally possesses, receives, retains or disposes of stolen property. Mississippi law requires that a person charged with receiving or possession of stolen property either (1) know that the property is stolen, or (2) have reasonable grounds to believe that the property is stolen.
Under Mississippi law, the standard for deciding whether a person should have known the property was stolen is whether the accused received the stolen property under circumstances that reasonable men would believe the property was stolen. The State sometimes tries to prove this by showing that the accused person paid a lot less for the property than the property was worth. For example, if a person buys a Glock pistol for $50.00, when the fair market value is $500.00, then he obviously should know that it is stolen. In such a case, the person would likely be found guilty of possession or receiving stolen property in Mississippi.
Whether possession of stolen property is a felony or a misdemeanor in Mississippi depends on the value of the property. If the property has a value of $500.00 or less, then it is a misdemeanor which carries a sentence of six (6) months in the county jail. If the stolen property has a value of more than $500.00, then it is a felony, with a potential sentence of ten (10) years in prison and a fine of $10,000.00.
There are defenses to the charge of possession or receiving stolen property in Mississippi. These cases are easiest to defend where the State tries to prove that the defendant paid so much less for the property than it was worth, that he should have known it was stolen. As an example, I once had a client who purchased a stolen vehicle for $750.00 from another individual (my client did not know it was stolen). The Blue Book value of the vehicle was around $6,000.00. However, when my client bought the car, the engine was knocking and leaking oil, and the transmission needed to be replaced. Under those circumstances, my client likely overpaid for the car. After presenting those facts to the prosecutor, the State dismissed the possession of stolen property charge against my client.
If you have been charged with possession of stolen property or receiving stolen property, don’t assume you are guilty. Please contact Jackson, Mississippi criminal defense attorney Curt Crowley at 601.944.1984 for a free case evaluation.