Receiving Stolen Property

Definition - What does Receiving Stolen Property mean?

Receiving stolen property is a criminal offense that occurs when someone knowingly and deliberately takes possession of an item wrongfully acquired by someone else; or does so when there is reason to believe that it was stolen. It does not matter whether the recipient keeps the stolen property or decides to get rid of it, unless the recipient acquired it with the specific intent to return it to its rightful owner.

Justipedia explains Receiving Stolen Property

To secure a conviction for receiving stolen property, a prosecutor must successfully prove that the defendant:

  • Knew that the property was stolen at the time of acquisition
  • Should have known the property was stolen
  • Did not intend to give it back

A prosecutor must also show that the item was actually stolen to begin with.

The classification of receiving stolen property as a felony or misdemeanor depends on how much the item is worth. If the value matches or exceeds an amount stipulated by law, the offense is a felony. If it is less than the amount stipulated by law, the offense is a misdemeanor.

This particular crime is usually a violation of state law, but it is a federal offense when someone knowingly acquires stolen goods that have been transported across state lines.

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