Possession of Stolen Property
Possession of stolen property is a crime that will be charged to a person that is found with someone else’s property. This crime is not the same as simple theft, larceny, burglary, or robbery because it does not necessarily imply that the person in possession of the property actually stole the property.
This crime implies that the person being accused knew that the property was stolen when it was acquired. This crime will be charged according to the value of the goods in possession and whether or not the goods can be recovered and returned to the proper owner.
Possession of stolen property, while still a crime, is less serious than other types of theft depending on the situation. If you were innocently caught with stolen goods, you will not be charged with a crime at all.
It may be that you did not know that the goods were stolen and you have been falsely accused, or you may have simply taken the goods from your friend for a while until they returned to collect them. Whatever the reason, it is possible to defend against this type of case. With the assistance of an attorney, you can look at all of the possible options to help you avoid a harsh sentencing.
Possession of Stolen Property – Laws
The laws on this particular crime usually revolve around how valuable the goods were, where they were acquired from, whom they were acquired from, and if they are able to be returned. If all of the goods can still be returned to the owner, the penalties will be much less severe. However, if a substantial amount of goods were stolen and then found in your possession, you may be charged with a felony if you are no longer able to return those goods.
While it is important to note that the person charged with this type of crime would have to know that it was stolen, some prosecutors will argue that you should have known the property was stolen by investigating the situation further. If a reasonable inference could lead you to the conclusion that the goods are stolen, you still may be charged with possession of stolen property.
Possession of Stolen Property – Penalties
The penalties for possession of stolen property will depend entirely upon whether you are charged with a felony or a misdemeanor. Some states will charge you with a misdemeanor if you are found with less than $250 worth of goods. The possession of property over $500 will be considered a felony, and the penalties are much more severe.
Penalties for misdemeanor crimes of this nature can be a fine or a term of imprisonment, and the punishment will depend on the severity of the crime. The value of the goods is usually the most determining element when deciding how much time in prison or the fine levied against the person accused of possession of stolen property.
Get Help by Speaking to an Attorney
If you are in need of legal advice or counsel, speaking with a licensed attorney can help you prepare for trial, understand the specific laws in your state, and develop an appropriate defense against the charges.