Possession of stolen property is one of those crimes that most people recognize, but don’t really understand. That’s because the law dictates that the person receiving, acquiring or in control of stolen property must know that the item or items were taken illegally. This is an important distinction that can make all the difference for a the defense being built up by a San Diego possession of stolen property lawyer.
Proving Something Was Stolen
The problem with saying that a person must know that something is stolen is that it is difficult to prove someone knew something was stolen. Sure, if you see someone pull something off the back of a truck when no one is looking and then they sell it or give it to you, it would be hard to argue that you had no reason to believe the item was stolen, but that is a rare situation. Even if that was to happen, a San Diego possession of stolen property attorney might be able to reasonably argue that you believed the person selling it to you was the owner of a company selling the product.
Defending Against These Charges
If you buy an iPod off of Craigslist with a scratched off serial number, you might not immediately recognize that it was stolen -especially if the person who sells it to you provides a reasonable explanation for why the serial number has been removed. A skilled criminal attorney can help you prove that you had no reason to believe the item was stolen, but you need to call a lawyer as soon as you are arrested and refuse to speak to police without an attorney present or you may say something that will hurt your case later on. In fact, most of the time when these charges are successfully proven, it’s because the suspect said something to the police to confirm their guilt.
If there is sufficient evidence to prove that you knew the item was stolen, your attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain in order to minimize the sentence you will receive.
Penalties for Possession of Stolen Property
In California, receiving, acquiring or being in possession of stolen property can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. As a misdemeanor, it is punishable by up to one year in jail, but as a felony, you can be sentenced to up to three years in prison.
If you have been accused of having stolen property in your possession, please call criminal defense lawyer Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.
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