Receiving Stolen Property

Pittsburgh Theft Defense Attorney

Receiving stolen property is categorized as a theft offense under Pennsylvania law, and it may lead to a misdemeanor or felony charge.  Penalties may be severe.  If you have received stolen property – whether you purchased it, found it or received it as a gift – you may find yourself at the center of unexpected criminal litigation.

Fortunately, receiving stolen property can be a challenging charge for the prosecution to prove.  Let’s take a look at some of the basic elements of the receiving stolen property offense for a clearer picture.

What Qualifies as “Receiving Stolen Property” Under Pennsylvania Law?

Receiving stolen property is defined as a criminal offense in Section 3925 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes.  Simply put, a person may be found guilty of receiving stolen property if he or she:

  1. Intentionally receives, retains or disposes of the movable property of another,
  2. Knowing that it has been stolen or believing that it has probably been stolen.

In Pennsylvania, receiving stolen property can be prosecuted as a felony or a misdemeanor of varying degrees, depending on the value of the stolen property.

If the property is worth…

  • Less than $50, it will be prosecuted as a third-degree misdemeanor.
  • Between $50 and $200, it will be prosecuted as a second-degree misdemeanor.
  • Between $200 and $2,000, it will be prosecuted as a first-degree misdemeanor.
  • More than $2,000, it will be prosecuted as a third-degree felony.

As such, penalties range quite drastically: up to one year of imprisonment and up to a $2,500 fine for a third-degree misdemeanor offense, and up to seven years of imprisonment and up to a $15,000 fine for a third-degree felony offense.

Avoiding Liability

Intended to Give Property Back

If you can prove that you intended to give the stolen property back to its original, rightful owner, you may be able to avoid liability.  Establishing your intent to give back the stolen property may be difficult.  If you can show that you took “steps” toward returning it, that may be evidence of intent.

No Knowledge (or Belief) That Property is Stolen

You cannot be held liable if you did not actually know that the property was stolen and if you did not believe that it was stolen.

Actual knowledge is not necessary for the prosecution to attach liability to you. If they can show that you did not know for sure whether the property was stolen, but that you believed it most likely was stolen, you can be held liable.

Contact an Experienced Pittsburgh Theft Defense Attorney for Assistance

At McKinney Law, our attorneys have extensive experience assisting those who have been charged with receiving stolen property, as well as other criminal theft offenses.  We have helped many of our clients avoid liability or secure a reduced penalty.

We are a fundamentally client-oriented defense firm.  It is our belief that by engaging with clients in a collaborative and open manner, we make it much easier for them to communicate information and concerns.  This ensures that the client is satisfied with the direction of litigation and that we have the information we need to effectively represent their interests.  Thanks to this in-depth understanding of each case, we are empowered to act decisively for the benefit of our defense clients.

Call (412) 520-3301 or send us a message online to speak to an experienced Pittsburgh theft defense attorney. Consultation is free and confidential.  We will respond to any and all inquiries within 24 hours of receipt.