Receiving Stolen property is a charge that is rarely charged by itself. Generally, it is linked together with theft, grand theft, embezzlement or even auto theft. However, it should be known that receiving stolen property is a crime on its own and there are certainly certain situations where it is the most appropriate. Lets give an example to reveal the most common situation. If someone had stolen something from a store and then brought it to their house, they are obviously on the hook for a theft charge. Now if that person called their friends and said I have some very cheap electronics to sell you and one of the friends bought it, that friend could be charged with receiving stolen property. We know what you are thinking though, what if they did not know that it was stolen, that is one of the best defenses for this and that will be discussed below.
Elements for Receiving Stolen Property
The penal code that represents receiving stolen property is penal code 496. The actual elements of the crime are a little complicated because there are so many ways this crime can be committed. The person who gets the goods could have received, bought, sold, aided in selling or aided in concealing the property that was stolen. That is the first element of the crime. It shows how broad this offense is and why it is so commonly charged.
The next element required is: when the defendant did one of the things above the defendant knew it was stolen.
And last: The defendant actually knew of the presence of the item.
The property can be obtained by any type of theft or can be obtained by extortion for it to be considered stolen. Two people can possess property at the same time and in regards to possession, someone does not need to actually physically have it on their person to possess it. An example of this would be the following: If someone is driving a car with stolen goods in it and there are two people in the car. Lets say the person who owns the car is the passenger and his or her friend is driving. The police legally pull them over and are given consent to search the car. If the police find the stolen property, then it is possible that both people could be found in possession of it at the same time. In this situation, the individuals would be seen to be in possession of the goods even though they were not directly in their hand or had them on their person.
Defenses for Receiving Stolen Property
The best defense for receiving stolen property in San Diego is that there was no knowledge that the property was stolen. Plain and simple, that is the best and most believable defense for this crime. We will provide three examples to explain where this defense would work and where it would not work.
Example #1: Someone wants to buy new rims for their car so they start looking on the Internet. The rims that they want are around $2000. They look for days and finally find the exact rims they want for $1800. They call the person, they meet him at their house, they buy the rims and they take them home. A week later the police come to their house and tell them they are under arrest for receiving stolen property.
Example #2: The same person is looking for rims on the Internet. The ones they want are $2500 this time. They see the rims for $500 online. They go to meet the person and through text messages the person insists that they only accept cash and they will only meet in a dark field at night. They say that they cannot use their real name but go by the name John. You go buy the rims and a police officer comes to your house a week later and says you are under arrest for receiving stolen property.
Example #3: You are looking to buy car parts on Internet and you find some that are really cheap. You go to look at them and you see that they are in perfect brand new condition but all the serial numbers are scratched off. You ask the seller why that is and they tell you it’s because they are stolen. You buy them anyways and a week later an officer comes to your house and arrests you.
From reading these examples, its probably pretty obvious which charges would stick and which would not. In the first situation the prices are very similar, you are buying them from someone’s house and nothing seems suspicious at all. In this situation the knowledge defense would be a very good one and a solid attorney who handles criminal defense in San Diego would likely be able to get this case dismissed. The third example, the person directly told you they were stolen, if that was memorialized in a text message or somehow recorded then the prosecution has a strong case, otherwise they are going to look toward constructive knowledge or what is called willful blindness. Under the law, just because you don’t care to know, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t know that something is stolen. If all the signs point to it being stolen then the prosecution can argue that you knew or should have known it was stolen. In example number 2, the items are highly discounted, the person keeps saying cash and wants you to buy the items late at night. Someone in this situation should infer they were stolen and it is the same thing with the example of the scratched off serial numbers. However, the defense there is always better than actual knowledge and in constructive knowledge situations you will certainly have a strong case to try and pursue against the prosecution.
Call now so a San Diego Receiving Stolen Property Lawyer can help
At Ozols Law Firm, we offer free consultations on all of our criminal cases. We want the potential defendant to be able to do their research before spending any money. Make sure you hire the right law firm in this situation, one that will care about you and care about your case.