Receiving Stolen Property
NJ Theft Offense: Receiving Stolen Property
Criminal Defense Lawyer & Former Prosecutor
When your liberty is at stake, you need an experienced criminal attorney in your corner every step of the way. Individuals charged with receiving stolen property in New Jersey face significant penalties, including a possible prison sentence of up to ten years. If you have been arrested and charged with receiving stolen property in Municipal Court or indicted in Superior Court for this offense, the criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of John F. Marshall will fight for you and will leave no stone unturned when formulating defense strategies for your case. Our Law Firm handles Receiving Stolen Property cases statewide including in Monmouth County, Hudson County, Union County, Middlesex County, Ocean County, Somerset County, Essex County, Mercer County, and Bergen County. Whether it is your first offense, second offense, or a third or subsequent offense, you need the best possible lawyer to handle your case and the attorneys at our law firm include John F. Marshall, a former prosecutor in New Jersey. Every attorney at our Law Firm insures that the interests of our clients are protected at each juncture of the court proceedings. Contact us today for a free consultation.
New Jersey Receiving Stolen Property Law
The law is set forth at N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7 and provides:
a. Receiving. A person is guilty of theft if he knowingly receives or brings into this State movable property of another knowing that it has been stolen, or believing that it is probably stolen. It is an affirmative defense that the property was received with purpose to restore it to the owner. "Receiving" means acquiring possession, control or title, or lending on the security of the property.
b. Presumption of knowledge. The requisite knowledge or belief is presumed in the case of a person who:
(1) Is found in possession or control of two or more items of property stolen on two or more separate occasions; or
(2) Has received stolen property in another transaction within the year preceding the transaction charged; or
(3) Being a person in the business of buying or selling property of the sort received, acquires the property without having ascertained by reasonable inquiry that the person from whom he obtained it had a legal right to possess and dispose of it; or
(4) Is found in possession of two or more defaced access devices.
A defendant is guilty of receiving stolen property if "he knowingly receives or brings into this State movable property of another knowing that it has been stolen, or believing that it is probably stolen." Therefore, if you were to accept a car as a "gift" from your friend, who tells you, as he hands you the keys, that he got a "five finger discount" on this one, the judge or jury would likely surmise that you were aware that the car was stolen when you drove off. The key component of the receiving stolen property statute is the knowledge element. If a defendant innocently receives/acquires property, not knowing that the property is stolen, she may not be convicted under this statute, even if she later realizes that the property was in fact stolen. This remains true regardless of whether the individual keeps or disposes of the property. When a defendant's mindset at the time of offense is at issue, a good defense attorney will recognize the multiple defense strategies this presents. It may also be helpful to review the New Jersey Model Jury Charge for Receiving Stolen Property which sets forth the instructions which would be provided to jurors and which is located at http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/charges/jury/theft008.htm
There are, however, four scenarios set forth in the statute where knowledge that the property was stolen will be presumed. For example, knowledge is presumed where a suspect received stolen property in another transaction within one year preceding the transaction charged. In other words, if you have been convicted of receiving stolen property for a wholly unrelated incident within a year of the charged incident, you will be presumed to have the requisite knowledge necessary for a conviction. Therefore, it is imperative that the defendant facing these charges for the first time avoid a conviction for the same, as it may adversely affect future proceedings. If you have been arrested and are facing an indictment for receiving stolen property, or if you have been charged with a disorderly persons offense and need representation in municipal court, seek out the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Gradation of Receiving Stolen Property Offenses in New Jersey
It is important to note that Receiving Stolen Property, like many other theft offenses, is subject to gradation. Grading differences are primarily determined by the amounts involved, and the defendant will be penalized accordingly. The grading of offenses is set forth at N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11. If the full retail value of the items stolen is $75,000 or more, it is a Second Degree offense. It is a Third Degree Offense if the value involved is between $500 and $75,000. If the value involved is between $200 and $500, it is Fourth Degree Offense. If the goods are worth less than $200, a disorderly person offense has been committed. We have provided a Grading of Offense page which will more specifically outline the penalties involved. It should be obvious that an individual may be indicted for a Second or Third Degree crime as a result of what appeared to be a relatively innocent event.
If you have been arrested or charged with receiving stolen property and are in need of a lawyer, please do not hesitate to contact our criminal defense law firm with any questions and an attorney with our office will be happy to assist you. We handle these cases anywhere in New Jersey including Union County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Ocean County, Somerset County, Essex County, Hudson County and Mercer County. An arrest for this theft offense does not have to end badly. A lawyer from our office is available to speak to you and/or meet with you free of charge for an initial consultation