Los Angeles Theft Crimes Attorney


Los Angeles Receiving Stolen Property Defense Attorney

Receiving Stolen Property – Penal Code Section 496

Receiving stolen property is governed by California Penal Code 496. Receiving stolen property can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the circumstances and can result in anywhere from 16 months and up to 36 months in prison.  If you are charged with receiving stolen property in Los Angeles county, you should obviously consult with an attorney who’s been down this road before and had success.  In order to prove receiving stolen property, the authorities are going to have to show that, number one – you’ re in possession of some sort of stolen property; and number two – that you actually knew or reasonably should have known that when you received the property, it was stolen.  This is usually where the rub is in these receiving stolen property cases in LA – whether the person who has the property actually knew that it was stolen.

A lot of people say to me, well I had no idea of knowing whether the property was stolen, so there’s no way I can be convicted of this charge.  However, the other angle that the prosecutors can use is that you reasonably should have known that the property was stolen.  Obviously, somebody gives you a car and the ignition is punched out and it looks like it’s been ransacked, and they don’t have any explanation for where they got the car, the prosecutors with those factual circumstances would be able to make a good argument that you reasonably should have known that the car was stolen.  And a lot of times what I see happening in these receiving stolen property cases is the police will ask a bunch of questions to try to show that you reasonably should have known that the car was stolen.  They’ll ask you where you got the car, who gave it to you, why did they give it to you, and why wouldn’t you think that the car was stolen.  A lot of times people will say things or do things that make it clear that yeah, they did know the car was stolen, but obviously they weren’t there when the car was stolen, so how could they be proven of receiving stolen property.  So, I know how they prove these cases because I’ve done thousands of receiving stolen property cases in LA over the course of the last twenty-five years.  So, when you come and sit down with me, we’ll go over the details.  I’ll ask that you’re honest and give me all the facts and circumstances surrounding the case without putting a spin on it and without leaving out details.  Then I will really be able to give you a feel for whether or not they’ve got a good case against you.

When we sit down in the privacy of my office and we go over everything and you talk to me about the receiving stolen property case, obviously I’m going to tell you what you can do to help me with the case and I’m going to let you know exactly what I’m going to do in order to help you.  This should give you some peace of mind and some control back related to your case, which I think is crucial when you’re dealing with a criminal case and tensions are on the line and your anxious and you’re not sure what’s going to happen.  Another thing that I’m able to do in these cases having practiced in LA for so long is I can give you an idea of how the prosecutors will handle the case, what the tendencies are of the prosecutor and the court where your case is pending, and what the tendencies are of the judge when it comes to these cases.


What are some Defenses to Receiving

Stolen Property Cases in Los Angeles?

Well, one big defense is obviously, you didn’t know the property was stolen, and therefore, you can’t be charged with this crime.  This is a specific intent crime.  Meaning, when you got the property you had to know that you were receiving stolen property.  So, that’s the biggest and best defense when it comes to these cases and obviously, it’s very factually driven and what you need to do is get a good attorney because if you’re going to fight the case you’re gong to take it to a jury trial.  You’re going to have to show, listen, the circumstances didn’t show me it was stolen, I had no idea it was stolen and really in these cases, you’re going to have to have a strong argument and a theory as to why you would believe the property wasn’t stolen.

Obviously, the prosecutors have the burden in any criminal case, and of course, a receiving stolen property case to prove that the person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  And the person doesn’t have to prove anything.  But again, if you’ve got some property of somebody else’s, the inference is that you knew that it was stolen.  Unless you can come up with a good reason for why you had it, you’re going to have a real tough road to hoe when it comes to a jury trial.  So, that’s one of the first things we’ll do.  We’ll sit down, we’ll talk about it.  We’re going to see if your argument that you didn’t know the property was stolen will pass the “red face test” and then we can decide whether or not you’ve got a good defense.

Another thing that people should know is that receiving stolen property cases are wobblers.  Meaning, they could be charged as felonies or misdemeanors.  If you have no criminal record – there’s no huge dollar amount involved with whatever it is that you have – then you’ve got a pretty strong argument that the case should be a misdemeanor.  If the prosecutor files the case as a felony, then a lot of times we’ll do the preliminary hearing and we’ll fight the case and we’ll try to convince the judge that no – this is not a felony case – it should be a misdemeanor – and we can file a motion pursuant to 17(b)(5) of the Penal code and ask the judge to reduce the case down to a misdemeanor.  Also, a lot of times recently, based on the change of the law, Prop 47 and a number of other things that have happened in LA county, a lot of times the prosecutors and judges will give you a misdemeanor right off the top if you don’t have any prior criminal record and if the value of the property is not that high and you weren’t sophisticated in how you took the property.

So, one of the first things you have to do when we meet on these cases is to decide, okay, how are we going to handle the case – can we win it at a jury trial, can I convince the prosecutors to dismiss it because they don’t have the evidence – or are we going to have to work out some sort of deal with them.  And if we’re going to have to work out a deal with them, we’re going to have to get all the facts and circumstances that make you look like a good person – character letters, your job, people who know you saying good things about you.  Obviously, we’re going to want to get your version of events as to how you came to be involved with this receiving stolen property case and why it’s really not fair that you should have to take a conviction, especially for a felony.

As your Los Angeles Theft Crime Attorney we guarantee to do everything we can in an aggressive and persistent manner to get you the best possible results and prevent these penalties from being imposed on your life.

To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime under the Penal Code 496(a), the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

1. The defendant bought, received, sold, aided in selling, concealed or withheld from its owner/aided in concealing or withholding from its owner) property that had been stolen/obtained by extortion;
2. When the defendant bought/received/sold/aided in selling/ concealed or withheld/ aided in concealing or withholding the property, they knew that the property had been stolen/obtained by extortion;
3. The defendant actually knew of the presence of the property

At the Hedding Law Firm our criminal defense attorneys have been practicing law in California for a combined total of 75 years. We are well-established within the legal community and have earned the respect of numerous colleagues.  If you have been charged or accused of receiving stolen property, you should
contact a Los Angeles theft attorney at our firm immediately. We will meet with you and not only protect your rights but we will, in most cases, be able to maintain your freedom.

Author of The Art of The Perfect Defense

Your Essential Guide to Criminal Defense in Los Angeles

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