Receiving Stolen Property

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What Does It Mean to "Receive Stolen Property"?

Receiving stolen property is a crime to purchase or accept property that you know or believe was obtained through theft. The crime is separate from robbery, extortion, or theft. Receiving stolen property is a crime in order to deter people from aiding or rewarding thieves by buying stolen property, concealing stolen property, and to deter theft in general. Receiving stolen property may be a misdemeanor or felony. In order to be convicted of receiving stolen property, the prosecution must show:

In some states, the prosecution must show that you intended to aid the thief by purchasing or accepting the stolen property. Some states also differentiate between receiving and possessing stolen property.

What If I Did Not Know That the Property Was Stolen?

The key factor between receiving and possessing stolen property is the timing of the knowledge that it was stolen. If the person receiving the property knew it was stolen at the time of acquisition, then the person is guilty. If the person discovered the property was stolen after accepting it, but still intends to keep it or use it for a dishonest purpose (such as selling it to someone else), then the person is guilty of possessing stolen property.

Can I Be Convicted of Receiving Stolen Property If I Planned to Return the Items?

No. Anyone accepting or purchasing stolen property with the intent to give it back to the lawful owner is not guilty of receiving stolen property. This is because they lack the intent to benefit from receiving the stolen items.

What are the Possible Consequences of Receiving Stolen Property?

Receipt of stolen property is categorized as a "wobbler" meaning that the charge can be a felony or misdemeanor. A charge for a receipt of stolen property charge depends on the value of the property at issue. If the property has a high value, the defendant would be charged a felony. If the property value is low, the defendant would be charged as a misdemeanor. If you are found guilty, the court may do any or all of the following: 

What are Possible Defenses against an Accusation of Receiving Stolen Property?

Receiving stolen property is a theft crime, and every defense available for such crimes can be used, although the success of any specific defense will depend on the laws of the state and severity of the crime. Generally, these defenses include: 

Do I Need a Lawyer if I am Accused of Receiving Stolen Property?

If you are facing or may be facing criminal prosecution for receiving stolen property, you should consult with an criminal defense lawyer immediately. The best way to determine how successful any of these defenses will be is to consult with a lawyer. A criminal defense lawyer can analyze your situation, explain your options, and determine the best defenses to pursue.

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Last Modified: 10-06-2017 01:29 AM PDT

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