Is It Illegal to Buy or Keep Stolen Property?

With the holidays fast approaching, many people are buying and selling all types of items. It is illegal to buy or keep stolen property under certain circumstances. In order to convict someone of receipt of stolen property a couple of conditions must be met. First, the property must be proven to be stolen, and second, the property must have been acquired knowing that it was stolen.

Online Auctions

Today online auctions are very commonly used to buy and sell merchandise. This makes it more difficult for buyers to determine whether an item could be stolen or not. If you are a collector of a specific type of item it should be easier for you to know whether it is stolen. The law indicates that a person should know that the property could be stolen. When dealing with online auctions you’ll need to be particularly careful to watch out for potentially stolen goods. That’s because it’s much easier to sell items online – the buyer doesn’t have a chance to touch or examine the item closely.

Buying Stolen Goods

If a deal seems too good to be true, it’s quite possible that there could be a problem with the item – it could be a fake or it may be stolen. A reasonable person should be aware of a potentially stolen item. In order for law enforcement to successfully prosecute for receiving stolen property, they need to be able to prove the item was stolen and that a reasonable person should know that it may be stolen To prove the item stolen there will need to typically be a police report indicating the events that occurred when the item was stolen.

Selling Stolen Property

Just like receiving stolen property, it is illegal to sell stolen property. Again, knowing that the property was stolen is an essential element to charges. If you purchased an item and later determined it may be stolen, you cannot sell it – that is illegal. Sometimes buying and selling online is risky. It means you need to be particularly cautious when doing business on the Internet. If you have received stolen property, it’s best to bring it to the attention of authorities and by no means should you try to resell it to an unsuspecting person or you’ll be charged. Some of the most common stolen items include jewelry and electronics.

Defending Charges

If you’ve been charged with receiving stolen property the first thing to do is to seek representation by an experienced attorney. In many cases, the state will have a difficult time providing the proof necessary to achieve a conviction. Sometimes the prosecutor may be looking for a distributor or for someone higher up in the chain. If that’s the case, you may be able to get a plea deal in exchange for information. If you’re innocent, and truly didn’t know that the property was hot, your lawyer will work to help get the charges reduced or eliminated and will protect your rights throughout the process.