Receiving Stolen Property

Charged with Receiving Stolen Property?

Acquiring, buying, concealing or possessing stolen property is a crime.  The crime of receiving stolen property occurs when a person buys or possesses property that has been stolen through fraud, theft, embezzlement, deceit or taken by any other unlawful means by someone else.  The receiver of stolen property could be convicted if he or she knew the goods were stolen at the time of receipt and was intending to aid the thief.  Here are some examples:

  • A person suddenly acquires an expensive TV, car or other high-priced items without having the financial means to do so
  • A person buys a luxury watch from a street vendor at a surprisingly low price
  • A person receives a copy of an unlawfully acquired private or unpublished document, transcript, deed, or other form of intellectual property
  • A person offers his or her garage for storing unlawfully acquired items

Under California Penal Code Section §496, a conviction can apply to “Every person who buys or receives any property that has been stolen, knowing the property to be so stolen or obtained…” or if a person “conceals, sells, withholds, or helps to conceal, sell, or withhold any property from the owner.”

Depending on the value of the property in question and the discretion of the district attorney, this crime could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony in California (This is known as a “wobbler.”) If you have been arrested or charged with receiving stolen property, you should contact Damian Siwek, an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, at DCS Defense to schedule a no-cost confidential consultation to discuss your legal options.

Penalties for Receiving Stolen Property

A typical misdemeanor conviction for property valued at under $400, is punishable by paying a fine and/or spending up to one year in county jail depending on how the judge classifies this punishment “in the interests of justice.” The penalty for a misdemeanor conviction can also be increased if the person has any prior theft convictions.

A felony conviction for receiving stolen property or aiding a thief could result in being sent to state prison or county jail for up to 1 year.  The prison term is based on the severity of the crime,  the value of the stolen property, and the defendant’s prior criminal record.

If you’re charged with possessing stolen property, a prosecutor must prove that you knew the property you received was stolen or you intended to aid the thief by buying or holding the stolen property.  A defense that can be used on your behalf is that the possession was the result of an honest mistake in the belief that the property was not stolen.  There are defenses to this crime that an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can discuss with you.

Depending on the value of the property and other circumstances, it is possible to avoid conviction, fines and jail completely.

For aggressive and effective representation against receiving stolen property charges, including a free confidential consultation, contact Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Damian Siwek at DCS Defense.