Possession of Stolen Property – Penal Code 496 PC
Possession of Stolen Property – Defenses
When charged with a serious crime such as possession of stolen property, you need a strong defense attorney that will fight for you using an effective defense strategy. There are several defenses available that could result in a dismissal or reduction of your receiving stolen property charge.
Here are some successful defenses that the criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich can raise on your behalf:
You did not know nor had reason to know that the property was stolen
In order to convict you of receiving and concealing stolen property under 496 (a) PC, the prosecution must prove that you knew or reasonably should have known that the property was stolen.
Your attorney can argue that you unknowingly or did not have actual knowledge that the property was stolen and therefore cannot be convicted of this offense. In addition, your attorney can argue there were no “stolen property indicators” such as the removal of serial numbers that would lead a reasonable person to believe the property was stolen.
If the prosecution cannot prove this required element, your charges will likely be dismissed.
California law for receiving stolen property states that you cannot be found guilty if you intended to return the property to its owner or deliver the property to law enforcement at the time you received the property. This “innocent intent” defense allows you to take possession of stolen property for the purpose of returning it to the owner or handing it over to law enforcement without facing criminal liability. However if you originally took possession of stolen property with the intent of returning it to the owner, but then decide to keep it or sell it for you own benefit, this defense will not apply.
Lack of Possession
You cannot be convicted of possession of stolen property if you never had possession or control over the property. For example: You agree to purchase a flat screen television from your next door neighbor and arrange to pick it up the next day. Later that evening, your friend tells you that a local residence was recently burglarized and a flat screen was stolen that matches the description of the one you agreed to purchase from your neighbor.
Upon hearing this news, you call your neighbor and let him know that the deal is off and you want your money back. Since you never actually took possession of the stolen property nor did you exercise any control over it, you cannot be convicted of receiving stolen property.
Claim of Right
A claim of right to the property is a defense to receiving stolen property. You obtain property under a claim of right if you believe in good faith that you have a right to the specific property and openly take it. You can hold a good faith belief even if the belief is mistaken or unreasonable.
In deciding whether or not you had such a good faith belief, the court will consider all of the facts known to you at the time you obtained the property.
Voluntary Intoxication or Mental Disease
The crime of receiving stolen property requires the prosecution to show that you had the
specific intent of knowing that the property was stolen. Voluntary intoxication is a defense to specific intent crimes and therefore can be used to show that you lacked the knowledge necessary to convict you of possession of stolen goods. Your attorney can argue that due to your level of intoxication, you were unable to comprehend or understand that the property was stolen at that time you took possession of it.
A similar defense exists if you are afflicted with a mental disease or disability. If your mental disability impairs your ability to understand that the property you acquired was stolen, your attorney can argue that you lacked the requisite knowledge necessary to convict you of this offense.
Wallin & Klarich Can Help
When you are looking for a California defense attorney to represent you in your receiving stolen property case, Wallin & Klarich can help.
With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura, Victorville, West Covina, San Diego, Torrance and Sherman Oaks., there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense available near you no matter where you work or live.
Call us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL for your free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.