What exactly does it mean to receive stolen property in the State of Pennsylvania? What happens to those accused of such crimes?
Here’s everything you need to know about receiving stolen property in Pennsylvania.
1. “Receiving Stolen Property” is a Crime in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, it is a crime to receive property that you knew, or should have known, was stolen. This applies to movable property, which are objects that can be physically relocated. A few examples are cars, guns, mobile devices, laptops, jewelry, and gaming consoles.
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2. Accepting Stolen Property is Considered Theft
Under the PA law, receiving stolen property and knowing it was stolen is related to theft. This includes accepting, retaining, or disposing of another person’s stolen movable property.
Even if you just suspect the property may be stolen, but don’t know for sure, you can still be charged with a crime. The prosecution may argue that you should have known that the goods were stolen based on a variety of factors, such as their low price, illegitimate paperwork, or the short period of time since the theft took place.
3. Receiving Stolen Goods Can Be a Misdemeanor
In Pennsylvania, accepting and keeping stolen property may only classify as misdemeanor charges. For instance, if the property involved is worth $50 or less, it’s a third-degree misdemeanor. This jumps to a second-degree misdemeanor if the property is worth $50 to $199.
4. … But It Can Also Be a Felony
There are three types of felony charges that a recipient of stolen property can get charged with.
If the stolen property is a vehicle, that’s a third-degree felony. A second-degree felony occurs if a person receives, keeps, or disposes of a stolen firearm.
If a stolen firearm goes to a buyer or seller of stolen property, that’s a first-degree felony. This can also be the case for any other stolen property amounting to $500,000 or more.
5. Those Accused of Theft by Receiving Have Multiple Defenses
You may be in the clear even if you are in possession of stolen property but intended to return it to its owner. It’s also possible to prove your innocence if you weren’t aware it’s stolen property.
For instance, you can prove that you didn’t have any proof or reason to believe that it’s stolen property. It may be possible that the person who gave the property to you misled you to believe it wasn’t stolen.
Another form of defense is to prove that you weren’t aware you were in possession of stolen property. For example, you aren’t the only person living in the house where the police found the stolen property. You may be an occupant of that house, but you didn’t have any idea stolen goods were being kept there.
6. A Highly-Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
It can be quite difficult to establish that you weren’t aware of a stolen property’s origins. If you were to explain everything on your own, the court may find flaws in your defense.
To prevent this, consider hiring one of the best criminal defense attorneys in PA. They can highlight the aspects of your case that prove your innocence.
Get the Legal Aid You Need from the Law Offices of M.J. Snyder
Receiving stolen property, regardless of its value, is a crime in Pennsylvania. That’s why you need a good criminal defense lawyer to build your defense and prove you aren’t guilty of the crime.
If you need a criminal defense lawyer experienced in Philadelphia laws, we’re here to help. Contact the Law Offices of M.J. Snyder now by calling 215-515-3360. We’ll be happy to review your case and schedule your free consultation!