Receiving Stolen Property Lawyers
What are Possible Defenses against an Accusation of Receiving Stolen Property?
Receiving stolen property is a crime, so all the defenses available for other crimes can be used. Common defenses include:
- Insufficient evidence - To be convicted of receiving stolen property, the property received must in fact be stolen and you either must know or should have known it was stolen. Mere possession of stolen property is not enough evidence to convict. But it can be inferred from the circumstances that you should have known the property was stolen. For example, if you buy goods from the back of a van in a dark alley, you should have known the property was stolen.
- Entrapment - Entrapment occurs when the government compels an innocent person to commit a crime they would have otherwise not committed. However, simply being offered an opportunity to act is not considered entrapment. An experience attorney would be able to tell you whether a situation is only an opportunity or entrapment.
- Insanity - Insanity is always a possible defense, but it is a "tough sell" in any court for any crime. This defense allows you to claim you were either insane at the time of the offense or during trial. This defense is not used often in receiving stolen property cases.
- Incapacity - This is different from insanity, and may be more likely to work if you want to bring mental state as a defense. For example, if you are a minor, you may be considered legally incapacitated and only be charged in juvenile court.
- Intoxication - Voluntary intoxication (drugs or alcohol) is almost never a defense to a crime. If you drink voluntarily, you should realize the risks of doing so. As long as the circumstances show that a sober person would have known the property was stolen, not knowing it was stolen because you were drunk will not work.
What if I Paid Full Price for the Stolen Property?
This is not a defense. As long as what you bought was stolen and you knew (or should have known) it was stolen, then paying "full price" for the item is irrelevant.
How Likely Will any of These Defenses Work?
The best way to determine this is to consult an experienced attorney. Contacting experienced receiving stolen property lawyers will assist you to analyze your situation and determine the best defenses to pursue. For more information on property theft, see the National Stolen Property Act.
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Last Modified: 07-30-2009 04:39 PM PDT
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