Common Defenses Used for Receiving Stolen Property in Pennsylvania
When you receive or dispose of stolen property in Pennsylvania, it’s possible that you could be charged with a crime. In Pennsylvania, around 166,000 cases of property theft occur each year, many of which result in someone else receiving or retaining the stolen property. If you’ve been charged with being involved in a theft, our criminal defense lawyers can help you create a strong defense.
What Does It Mean to Receive Stolen Property?
While receiving stolen property isn’t as problematic as actually stealing the property, it can lead to severe consequences. Someone has received stolen property after acquiring, buying or being given items that have previously been stolen. Many individuals who are charged with such a crime were aware that the property was stolen. In Pennsylvania, however, you don’t necessarily need to have known that the property was stolen in order to be charged with this crime. For a person to be found guilty of receiving any kind of stolen property, the prosecution will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:
- Was not going to return the item to its original owner
- Knew that the property was acquired as the result of theft or had reason to believe that the property was stolen
- Received, discarded or retained property that belonged to another person
Being convicted of this crime hinges almost entirely upon the prosecution proving that you had at least some reason to suspect that the item was stolen. This basically means that you could be convicted of the crime solely because you purchased something at an extremely low price and should have known that it was stolen. If this has happened to you, it’s highly recommended that you retain a criminal defense attorney to help with your case.
Penalties Associated With Receiving Stolen Property
The penalties for receiving stolen property largely depend on the value of the items in question. Property valued at less than $50 comes carries charges of a third-degree misdemeanor, which can be punished by up to a year in prison and $2,500 in fines. Stolen property below $200 but above $50 in value is a second-degree misdemeanor, which comes with penalties of as much as two years in prison and fines of $5,000 or less.
If the stolen property is valued between $200-$2,000, you could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. This charge is punishable by as much as five years in prison and fines that can reach as high as $10,000. When a person receives stolen property that’s valued at more than $2,000, he or she could be charged with a third-degree felony, which carries penalties of as many as seven years in prison and fines that reach as high as $15,000. The focus of a criminal defense attorney will be to reduce charges or get rid of them altogether.
Defenses That Are Commonly Used in Receiving Stolen Property Cases
The main defenses involved with these kinds of cases are centered around proving that the defendant had no idea that the property had been stolen before acquiring or purchasing it. Our Media criminal defense lawyers have handled numerous cases that involved receiving stolen property, so we understand which defense strategies work and which ones aren’t as effective.
Another possible defense that can be used in these cases involves proving that you had intended to provide the original owner with the stolen property once you acquired or purchased it. Since the penalties associated with receiving stolen property can far outweigh the total value of the property in question, the difference between a third-degree and a first-degree misdemeanor can be substantial. This is why our lawyer will focus on building a strong defense that takes all the facts of your case into account.
If you’ve been charged with theft-related offenses, like receiving stolen property, call our Media criminal defense lawyers at (610) 565-0240 to get started on your defense.