It is illegal to accept or purchase property that you know or suspect may be stolen. Receiving stolen property is a crime that rewards thieves, and it is prosecuted to deter theft. Depending on your jurisdiction, receiving stolen property may be a felony or a misdemeanor. To be convicted, it must be shown that:
* The property was stolen
* That you (or a reasonable person in your situation) knew it was stolen
* That you planned to keep, sell or give away the property
In some jurisdictions, prosecutors must show that you planned to help the thief by buying or taking the stolen goods. Some states have different rules for the possession and reception of stolen property. The key difference is when you first learned that the property was stolen; if you knew before buying, you are guilty. If you find out afterward and keep the property anyway, you are also at fault. If you’re found guilty of receiving or possessing stolen property, you may face probation, fines and even prison time.
Defenses to Stolen Property Charges
To successfully prosecute a stolen property case, the state must prove the factors above. If you and your Criminal Attorney in Ocean City, MD can disprove any or all of those factors, you will win your case. A common defense is that you planned to return the property to its rightful owner, or that you never planned to keep it.
Prosecutors also must prove that you knew you were receiving stolen goods. Most jurisdictions use the “reasonable person” standard of proof; if you can prove that someone else in your situation would not know the property was stolen, that lack of knowledge can be used as a defense.
What to do if you are Accused of Receiving or Possessing Stolen Property
Dealing in and possessing stolen property is a serious crime, and you should not try to defend yourself. If you are facing such accusations, you should consult a Criminal Attorney in Ocean City, MD right away. A lawyer with OceanCityLawyer.com can inform you of your legal rights, possible defenses, and your state’s legal system.
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