WHEN YOU BUY IT, KNOW WHERE IT CAME FROM

Posted on: May 6, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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California Penal Code 496

Orange County criminal defense attorneyIn California, it is against the law to buy, sell, conceal, receive, or withhold property that you know is stolen. However, before you can be convicted for receiving, possessing, or trafficking in stolen property, a prosecutor must be able to prove that you knew the property was stolen. More precisely, to convict you of receiving stolen property, the state must prove that you either knew or “reasonably should have known” that the property was stolen. If you are charged with receiving stolen property in southern California under California Penal Code 496, arrange at once to speak with an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

If you buy a $1,000 watch from a stranger on the street for $35, for example, a prosecutor may contend that you “reasonably should have known” that the watch was stolen. On the other hand, those charged with receiving stolen property may be innocent for several reasons. If you genuinely did not know that the property was stolen, if you genuinely believed that the property was legally yours to begin with, or if the property came into your possession without your knowledge – someone hid it in a closet or in the trunk of your car, for example – a good defense attorney will clearly explain your side of the story to a prosecutor, a judge, and if necessary, to a jury. However, you must put your attorney on the case as early as possible. Evidence can deteriorate, witnesses can become forgetful, and evidence and witnesses can both disappear if you don’t act promptly.

Receiving stolen property is a “wobbler” charge in California, meaning that it can be prosecuted either as a felony or as a misdemeanor depending on the details of the crime and the suspect’s criminal record. A misdemeanor conviction is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. A felony conviction is punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. In Orange County, if you are charged with receiving, possessing, or trafficking in stolen property, it’s imperative – call an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney immediately.

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