Criminal Defense Attorneys Defending Individuals Accused of Receiving Stolen Property
Receiving stolen property is covered under California Penal Code Section 496. It's defined as buying, concealing, receiving, or possessing property of another individual when the person knew the property was taken by unlawful means. This theft crime offense is a "wobbler," which means it can be filed as a misdemeanor or felony crime.
In order for the prosecutor to obtain a conviction, they must be able to prove beyond any reasonable doubt the defendant; (1) Purchased or received property that was stolen; (2) Knew the property was stolen at the moment it was purchased or received. Basically, this theft crime offense is a specific intent crime.
This means the individual who received the property must have known the item was stolen. Typically, the prosecutor will attempt to prove this element of the offense with circumstantial evidence. This could include showing the individual concealed the property in some manner in an effort to hide the identity of the rightful owner.
Additionally, the individual who had possession of the property must have had the intent to permanently deprive the actual owner of the property. It's also possible to be convicted of a receiving stolen property offense by selling the item or aiding and abetting in the sale of the stolen property. See related: Grand Theft Auto and Operating a Chop Shop.
Legal Penalties for a Receiving Stolen Property Conviction
Typically, if the value of the property is less that $400, a defendant could receive a misdemeanor conviction and punishable by a fine and up to one year in an LA County jail. If the defendant has a prior theft conviction, the penalty may be increased.
If the value of the property is greater than $400, a defendant may receive a felony conviction for receiving stolen property punishable by a state prison or county jail sentence of one year. The factors considered are the total value of the property and the defendant's criminal record. See related blog: California Proposition 47.
Legal Defenses against Receiving Stolen Property Charges
The key factor in the prosecution of a receiving stolen property crime is proving that the defendant knew the property was stolen when they received it. It may be possible to present a legal defense that the defendant's possession was an honest mistake and they had no prior knowledge the property was stolen.
Our experience has taught us it's not uncommon a defendant had any belief the property was stolen when they took possession. This element of the offense is often difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. We will aggressively challenge the information in the police report, evidence, and any witness statements. See related: Search Warrants Laws in California.
Contact a Los Angeles Receiving Stolen Property Defense Lawyer
Being arrested and charged with a theft crime offense such as receiving stolen property is far different than being convicted. The Los Angeles prosecutor must prove their case.
Therefore, if you are under criminal investigation, or already charged, you need to immediately consult with a Los Angeles criminal lawyer to review all the specific details. Our skilled team of defense attorneys will sit down with you to discuss the facts of your case and potential defense strategies.
By contacting our law firm early in your case process, you are giving yourself the best opportunity of a favorable outcome. Depending of the specific conditions and total value of the property, it may be possible to avoid a conviction, fines, and jail time. Every theft crime case has it's own unique set of circumstances and evidence.
Over our five decades of combined experience in criminal law, we have successfully defended numerous clients against any type of misdemeanor of felony theft crimes. Our attorneys will aggressively pursue all legal options to protect your future opportunities and keep you freedom intact.
In some cases, when the issue of guilt is not challenged, we are skilled courtroom negotiators and may be able have the criminal charges reduced to a lesser offense. It may also be possible to pursue sentencing alternatives to avoid any jail time.
Contact us 24/7 for a free immediate response. Call the Los Angeles criminal defense law firm of Eisner Gorin LLP at 310-328-3776 to learn how we can help you.