Get a San Diego Theft Attorney to Fight Your Charges
In California, the theft crime of Buying or Receiving of Stolen Property is punished by California Penal Code Section 496. Virtually any form of possession of stolen property will subject an individual to arrest and punishment under PC § 496.
One does not even need to physically touch or see the property in order for them to have possession. Simply allowing someone to place stolen property in your garage or warehouse, even briefly and without ever having access to the property, will be punishable under this section. Any form of control whatsoever, combined with the knowledge of the illicit nature of the property as stolen, will be grounds for arrest for receiving stolen property.
It is therefore imperative that you hire a criminal lawyer in San Diego to assist you in fighting any charges you may be facing for receiving stolen property. At The Law Office of Marc S. Kohnen, they will aggressively fight to protect your rights.
Penalties for Receiving Stolen Property
Under Penal Code §496 receiving stolen property is known as a “wobbler” crime, which means that depending on the circumstances of the case, the value of the stolen property, and the criminal history of the accused it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
If, for example, the individual purchased items of substantial value, with convincing evidence to show that they knew the items were stolen or aided in the theft of the items, the offense will likely be charged as a felony carrying a punishment of up to 3 years in prison.
Prior criminal history will give power to the court to increase the sentence. Also, if the stolen property is any kind of motor vehicle, the court could impose an additional sentence of up to 3 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Fighting the Charges
The law does impose a duty on merchants and those who regularly deal in the type of goods in question to make such inspections with regards to the potential stolen nature of the goods. Merchants will have an increased duty to inspect the goods they purchase for resale which decreases the prosecution’s burden in proving knowledge.
Even with merchants, the prosecution must still rely on a substantial amount of circumstantial evidence to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the merchant knew or had sufficient reason to know that the property was stolen. This will likely require expert witnesses to attest to standards of the industry and other duties of inspection, thorough investigation into the history of business practices of the defendant, as well as costly discovery in other business records that might show a history of the purchase and sales of stolen goods.
Charged with receiving stolen property?
If you are arrested and charged under Penal Code §496, the sooner you contact an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney regarding the matter, the sooner they may consult with you on your options and contact the prosecution to have the charges reduced to a misdemeanor or dropped. The days following your arrest, prior to your first court date are crucial in determining how the prosecution will build their case, or whether they are willing to pursue the case at all.
As mentioned above, it will take a sufficient level of circumstantial evidence to successfully convict an individual under this section. If the evidence is lacking in any way, the prosecution may be persuaded to reduce the charges or plea bargain their case in the interest of justice and judicial economy. Attorneys at The Law Office of Marc S. Kohnen have been able help many people through these difficult and delicate matters, and we are prepared to fight for you. Call the firm today to discuss your case and defense options!