Will I Go to Jail for Receiving Stolen Property?
Receiving property that has been stolen is a crime according to Penal Code 496 PC in the state of California, and most states will have similar laws on the books. A person can be convicted of receiving stolen property if they knew it was stolen and chose to receive it. If a person buys, sells, receives, or conceals property that is known to be stolen, they can face some serious penalties under the law. Knowingly helping someone to hide merchandise that the defendant knew was stolen from a store, buying something that was knowingly stolen, or selling stolen goods online or offline are all offenses that the law takes very seriously.
What Makes Receipt of Stolen Property a Crime?
Prosecutors who are arguing these cases are required to prove two things when they are trying to convict someone. First, they need to know that the defendant has received, bought, withheld, concealed, sold, or helped to sell the property that has been stolen from another. In addition, when that act was committed, the prosecutors need to prove that the defendant knew that the property was stolen or that it was obtained through extortion.
The term stolen in these cases will refer to any property that was taken through a robbery or burglary, or through other types of theft including embezzlement, for example. In addition, it is important to understand extortion in these types of cases. Property that was taken through extortion means that it was taken with the consent of another person, but the person’s consent was given through force or by causing fear.
It is also important to note that receiving property means that the defendant has taken possession of it and control it. However, a single person does not have to be the only person possessing the property. It can also apply to two or more people possessing it simultaneously. The term possess does not mean that the defendant necessarily had to hold or touch the item physically. Defendants will only be guilty if they knew the property was stolen. This is something that the prosecution will have to prove.
What Are the Legal Defenses for These Cases?
There are several potential defenses that can be used for those who have been accused of receiving stolen property. One of the most powerful being not having knowledge that the property that they received had been stolen. If the defendant does not know that the property they have received was stolen, then they can’t be convicted. It can always work well as a defense since it can be difficult for the prosecution to prove.
Another defense that can work is known as innocent intent. This will only apply if at the time the defendant received the goods that they had the intention of returning it to the rightful owner or they intend to bring it to the police.
Another defense that is often used in these types of cases is not receiving the property under the terms of the legal definition. The defendant would not be guilty of a crime if they did not possess and have control over the property. For example, if someone hid the items on the defendant’s property without the defendant’s knowledge, they would not be guilty of receiving stolen property.
What Type of Penalties Are Used for Receiving Stolen Property
This type of offense could either be considered a misdemeanor or a felony based on the total value of the property that is involved. If the property’s total value is less than $950, it will be a misdemeanor. If it is more than that, it will be a felony.
Those who have been charged as a misdemeanor can case misdemeanor probation, as well as time in the county jail for up to one year. They also face a penalty of a fine that can be as much as $1,000.
Those who are charged as a felony will find the punishments to be more severe. They will be on felony probation, they can be put into the county jail for up to three years, and they will face a fine of up to $10,000.
Get Help from a Professional Attorney
Those who are facing a charge of receiving stolen property are likely scared about the outcome of their case. Instead of attempting to face the charge alone, it is important to get in touch with an attorney who has experience representing clients with similar charges. The attorney can explain what’s happening with the case, what you can expect, and what types of defense might work best in the case. Quality attorneys can make it difficult for the prosecutors to prove that the defendant knowingly took control of the stolen property. It’s essential to get help with these cases as early as possible.