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Can I Be Charged with Receiving Stolen Property If I Didn’t Know It Was Stolen?

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At Lotze Mosley, LLP, our Washington D.C. criminal defense attorney knows, according to our District’s Law, “A person commits the offense of receiving stolen property if that person buys, receives, possesses, or obtains control of stolen property, knowing or having reason to believe that the property was stolen.”

If you genuinely did not know that the property was stolen and there was no reason to suspect its stolen nature, you may have a defense against a charge of receiving stolen property.

While the law seems straightforward, several nuances may influence the prosecution’s case.

Here is what you need to know.

Charged with Receiving Stolen Property

Assessing the Circumstances of Receiving the Property & Your Next Steps

The circumstances under which you acquired the property may be relevant to your criminal case. For example, if you purchased an item from a reputable seller without any indication that it was stolen, it could support your claim of innocence.

In addition, your actions and behavior after discovering that the property might be stolen can be considered. If you immediately report your suspicions to the authorities or take steps to return the property to its rightful owner, those facts will be viewed favorably.

Your relationship with the person you obtained the property may also be examined. It could affect your defense if the source is known to be involved in criminal activities or if the transaction was suspicious.

What are the Penalties for Receiving Stolen Property in Washington D.C.?

In Washington, D.C., the penalties for receiving stolen property depend on the value of the property and the circumstances surrounding the crime:

  • Misdemeanor

If the property’s value is less than $1,000, it is a misdemeanor. A conviction carries up to 180 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.

  • Felony

If the property’s value is $1,000 or more, it is a felony offense. A conviction carries up to seven years in jail, a $25,000 fine, or both.

If you have been arrested for receiving stolen property, call (202)-393-0535 to speak with our skilled criminal defense attorneys in Washington, D.C., at Lotze Mosley, LLP.

This will ensure your rights are protected from the beginning so you can make informed decisions about the direction of your case.

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