Receiving Stolen Property Defense Attorney

Drug Crimes

When you haven’t physically stolen property, but you receive property that has been stolen, you’ve violated California Penal Code Section 496, which basically says, unbeknownst to the owner, you’ve accepted their property. In other words, they didn’t give you permission to possess their property. Typically, when law enforcement can’t track down who actually stole the property, they’ll turn to who has it.

Receiving stolen property is partially defined by robber or burglar committing one of the following types of theft crimes:

  • Penal Code Section 487 or Penal Code Section 504: embezzlement of property.
  • Penal Code Section 211: robbing an individual.
  • Penal Code Section 484: petty theft $400 or less.
  • Penal Code Section 487: grand theft of over $400.
  • Penal Code Section 459: burglary in the first degree of an inhabited residence.
  • Penal Code Section 459: burglary in the second-degree of a commercial building.


In terms of the “receiver’s” culpability, if you know the property is stolen and you sell it, buy it, withhold it, conceal it from the owner, or simply receive it, you’ve committed this crime. Though an individual can be charged with both receiving a stolen item and theft, Penal Code Section 654 states that a person can only be punished once per item.
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Receiving stolen property can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor means up to one year in jail, while a felony could mean up to three years in prison.

But what if you unwittingly received stolen property? This is what’s known as a “specific-intent” crime. The law clearly states that you cannot be punished if you did not know the property was stolen, that gaining this stolen property was accidental because you had no knowledge it was stolen at the time you acquired it. Also, the prosecutor must show that you intended to forever deprive the rightful owner of this property by doing things like hiding it, making changes to it, attaching your name to it, etc.

If you or someone you know in Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, and Orange County, has been accused of or arrested for receiving stolen property, contact one of DRE Law’s theft crime defense lawyers who are savvy about the nuances in these cases. You need an attorney who will aggressively do what it takes to ensure you receive the best outcome and/or are not unlawfully convicted for unintentionally receiving stolen property.

Darren Richie