Free Consultation / 24 Hours a Day - (614) 500-3836

Felony & Misdemeanor Sentences for Receiving Stolen Property

Posted On: June 16th, 2023   |   Posted by: Luftman, Heck & Associates LLP

In Ohio, you can be charged with a theft crime even if you were not the person who stole it. For example, receiving stolen property can result in severe penalties like incarceration, fines, and hassle.

Unfortunately, many people don’t realize how serious receiving stolen property is until it’s too late. Read below to learn more about receiving stolen property charges, the penalties attached to a conviction, and how an experienced theft defense lawyer can help.

What Is “Receiving Stolen Property”?

Receiving stolen property is a crime as defined by Ohio Revised Code (O.R.C.) §2913.51. Under this law, receiving, retaining, or disposing of property is illegal if you know or have reason to have known that the property was obtained through theft.

For example, if your friend steals a car and asks you to keep it at your house to hide it from the authorities, you may be charged with receiving stolen property. You may be charged if someone steals jewelry and you purchase it from them, knowing or reasonably knowing it was stolen.

Claiming you didn’t commission the theft is also not a defense. You may be convicted if you accepted the stolen property after it was represented as stolen.

A conviction for receiving stolen property is considered theft. It will affect your reputation as a “good and honest person” in society for immigration, financial aid for education, and employment.

Penalties for Receiving Stolen Property

Receiving stolen property may be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value and type of acquired property.

Simple Receiving Stolen Property

Simple receiving stolen property is a first-degree misdemeanor if the property is valued at $999 or less. This offense can result in up to 180 days in jail and a fine of $1,000.

Felony Receiving Stolen Property

Receiving stolen property can become a felony theft if the value is higher. A fifth-degree felony may be assessed for property valued between $1,000 and $7,500. However, some items may also result in a felony regardless of value, including:

  • Stolen credit cards
  • Blank checks
  • License plates
  • Blank motor vehicle registration forms
  • Blank driver’s license
  • Certain bulk merchandise
  • Special purchase articles (including beer kegs, cable, wire, grave markers, and more)

The penalties for a fifth-degree felony of receiving stolen property include six months, one year in jail, and a fine of up to $2,500.

Receiving stolen property may be pushed to a fourth-degree felony if the property is worth between $7,500 and $150,000 or if it is a motor vehicle, dangerous drugs, firearms, certain knives, or explosives. This may be punishable by six to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

A third-degree felony may be assessed if the stolen property is worth more than $150,000. This is punishable by one and five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Sentencing Guidelines for Receiving Stolen Property

Judges may assess a range of penalties for a conviction of receiving stolen property. This range is based on sentencing guidelines, which is described above. When determining whether they will assess a higher or lower penalty, a judge may consider various factors, including:

  • Severity of crime
  • Knowledge and intent of the defendant
  • Criminal record or history
  • Whether anyone was injured in the commission of the crime
  • Whether guns or other weapons were involved

For example, if the stolen property was valued at more than $150,000, the judge can punish the crime anywhere between one and five years in prison. Aggravating factors, like an extensive criminal record that includes many theft-related crimes, could result in a harsher maximum sentence.

What If I Get Multiple Charges? Will I Have to Serve Multiple Sentences?

In 2016, the Ohio Supreme Court settled a long-running dispute among appellate courts regarding the circumstances under which a judge can order a convict’s sentences to be served one after another (consecutively) or at the same time (concurrently). The court ruled that sentences for a felony and a misdemeanor must run concurrently—except in specific situations mentioned in Ohio’s statutes. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor and a felony, you can expect to serve both sentences simultaneously.

Ohio Judges Don’t Always Have the Discretion to Order Consecutive Sentences

This Supreme Court case developed out of the trial of an Ohio resident convicted of felony and misdemeanor charges of receiving stolen property. After the trial, the judge ordered that the sentences for the receiving stolen property convictions would run consecutively.

On appeal, the defense claimed that Ohio’s sentencing law, O.R.C. 2929.41, requires that sentences for convictions of felonies and misdemeanors must be served at the same time. The appellate court rejected the defense’s argument because the ambiguous sentencing law gives judges broad discretion in determining how sentences should be served.

The Supreme Court, however, agreed with the defense and overturned the appellate court’s decision. It found that O.R.C. 2929.41 generally prohibits judges from ordering consecutive sentences for felonies and misdemeanors, except when the following misdemeanors are involved:

  • Possession of a deadly weapon while under detention
  • Escape
  • Pandering sexually oriented matters involving children

Since receiving stolen property is not among these exceptions, the trial court had erred in ordering that the felony and misdemeanor sentences be served one after another. They needed to be served at the same time—which significantly reduced the convict’s time behind bars.

Defenses for Receiving Stolen Property

There are multiple defenses that your attorney, who also handles robbery, burglary, and trespassing, can help you assert.

Lack of Knowledge

An essential element of receiving stolen property is that you knew or reasonably should have known that the property was stolen. This is the element of “intent.” You must have intended to receive stolen property. You should not be found guilty if you did not intend or know the property was stolen.


Entrapment occurs when the authorities set up a situation where you commit a crime you would not have otherwise committed. This is a valid defense to receiving stolen property charges. For example, if you had no intent to purchase a motor vehicle and an undercover police officer brought the stolen property to you, you may feel coerced into buying that car or truck. This entrapment situation is unfair and not an ethical way to convict someone.

Insufficient Evidence

Suppose the prosecutor does not have enough evidence to prove that you committed the crime of receiving stolen property. In that case, your theft lawyer can help you challenge the charges and get them dismissed altogether. In some situations, your attorney can get key evidence suppressed (or thrown out), and the prosecutor will not have a case against you without that evidence.

Mistake of Fact

Critical facts in the case may be mistaken, indicating that you did not commit the crime. For example, this entire situation may be a case of mistaken identity. The prosecutor must drop the charges if you can prove that you did not receive the stolen property.

Reducing Receiving Stolen Property Penalties

Criminal penalties can be reduced or avoided by working closely with a defense lawyer who understands the law of receiving stolen property. Your attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor and work to get you a plea agreement that might involve:

  • Pleading guilty or no contest to a lesser crime with lower penalties
  • Accepting alternative penalties such as probation, house arrest, or a diversion program
  • Presenting mitigating factors and achieving a reduced sentence

It’s important to have experienced legal representation who is familiar with local courts and prosecutors. Prosecutors are often only willing to negotiate with the criminal defense attorneys they know and trust.

Expungement & Record Sealing

If you are ultimately convicted of receiving stolen property or a lesser offense, you may still have options to preserve your reputation and the full consequences of this crime. You may be able to get your criminal record expunged or sealed, depending on the level of offense of which you are convicted (misdemeanor vs. felony).

LHA Can Help with Receiving Stolen Property Charges

Any criminal charge can be devastating. However, receiving stolen property is particularly difficult to navigate. You may face misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the value, which can result in assorted penalties. The judge will also assess any of the possible consequences based on a variety of factors.

Given the complexity of these cases and the potential for life-altering outcomes, it is crucial to have knowledgeable legal representation to ensure that your rights are protected and that you have the best possible defense. Contact the Columbus receiving stolen property lawyers at Luftman, Heck & Associates for a free consultation.

Call LHA at (614) 500-3836 or submit a request.

I can FINALLY breathe easy now. I want to thank Mr. Bowen and all the attorneys that helped me with this case.

Read Our Reviews
Call Now (614) 500-3836