Charges for Receiving Stolen Property

Criminal Defense Attorney in Los Angeles

Buying, acquiring, possessing or concealing stolen property is a crime. The crime of receiving stolen property occurs when a person buys or possesses property that has been stolen through theft, fraud, deceit, embezzlement, 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 buys a luxury watch from a street vendor at a surprisingly low price
  • A person suddenly acquires an expensive TV, car or other high-priced items without having the financial means to do so
  • A person offers his or her garage for storing unlawfully acquired items
  • A person receives a copy of an unlawfully acquired private or unpublished document, transcript, deed, or other form of intellectual property

According to California Penal Code Section 496, 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 (also known as a "wobbler.")

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 conditions, it is possible to avoid conviction, fines and jail completely. A criminal defense lawyer from Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners can be the greatest single factor in determining the outcome of your conviction.

An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer is Your Best Defense

Our competent team of criminal defense attorneys has extensive experience in working with Los Angeles residents charged with receiving stolen property. We will sit down with you to discuss the facts of your case and thoroughly evaluate potential defenses. We will aggressively pursue any and all options to secure the best possible outcome available to you, including alternative sentencing (no jail) or going to trial.

For aggressive and effective representation, including a free confidential consultation, contact Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners.