Attorney Darwin Overson can defend you against accusations of receiving stolen property in Salt Lake City, Utah. You can face serious consequences including imprisonment ranging from six months to 15 years, depending on the value of the allegedly stolen property. Receiving stolen property is a complex crime in the sense that your actions are subject to the investigators’ and prosecutors’ interpretation. More specifically, the statute for receiving stolen property in Utah is designed to allow prosecutors to develop suppositions or legal presumptions, which are based on what they deem you knew or should have known regarding the property’s stolen status or place of origin.
At Overson Law, PLLC, you will receive aggressive and strategic legal representation. With over 16 years’ experience defending criminal cases based on accusations of various types of theft – including receiving stolen property – Darwin understands the intricacies of crimes based on legal presumptions and will fight to prevent the use of prejudicial assumptions and interpretations to build a case against you. Call (801) 823-6934 to schedule a free consultation today.
Do I Need a Lawyer if I am Accused of Receiving Stolen Property?
An effective defense for the crime of “receiving” or “possessing” stolen property requires significant legal experience. Anytime you are charged with receiving stolen property, the controversy will be whether you were buying or receiving stolen property “knowingly” or “unknowingly.” The reason having an effective lawyer is so essential in this type of case is that your knowledge will be subject to interpretation by individuals who may have biases and misconceptions about you or the property at issue.
This type of crime traditionally focuses on pawnshops and coin dealers buying property without inquiring about its origin and obtaining the required information. Moreover, charges under this statute have become more common with the onset of online re-sales of property. The crux of the case will depend on the circumstances under which you received the property and whether you knew the property was stolen.
The crime of receiving stolen property has two key “mental states” that prosecutors will try to pin on you based on circumstantial evidence such as a low price or the communications you had with the seller:
- That you knew the property was stolen
- That you intended to take possession
A finding of not guilty will hinge on your lawyer’s ability to contest the prosecution’s interpretation of your actions surrounding these mental states. Questions regarding what you knew and believed about the property shouldn’t be based on what the police think or on whether a prosecutor believes you should have known the item was stolen because you paid less than the current market price.
Presumption of Receiving Stolen Property
Presumption is a legal concept allowed in criminal cases to simplify prosecutors’ work because it is based on automatic conclusions. Imagine finding yourself learning about prosecutors’ interpretations of how you “received” the property and “knew” it was stolen. Utah’s the legal definition of knowledge and belief is complicated, in part so prosecutors can establish presumption. According to Utah Code § 76-6-408(2), there is a presumption of knowledge and belief if you are:
- Found in possession or control of other property stolen on a separate occasion or within the preceding year, which means that you may have been in trouble in the past for the crime of receiving stolen property
- A pawnbroker or person who operates a business dealing in or collecting used or secondhand merchandise and fail to obtain a certificate stating that the seller has legal rights over the property attached with a legible thumb print at the bottom of the certificate and at least one positive form of identification
In addition, you can be charged with receiving stolen property under Utah Code § 76-6-408(1) if you steal, conceal, sell, or withhold property from the owner.
Fines and Jail Time for Possession of Stolen Property in Utah
Anyone charged with the crime of receiving stolen property in Utah has to be prepared for stiff fines and penalties. Moreover, you’re typically expected to provide restitution for the stolen property. One area of concern is the valuation of the property because the level of your penalty will depend on this value:
It is considered a Class B misdemeanor when the value of the property is less than $500. A jail term not to exceed 6 months. A fine shouldn’t exceed $1,000 plus a 90% surcharge.
It is a Class A misdemeanor when the value of the property exceeds $500 but is less than $1,500. A jail sentence of up to one year can be imposed in addition to a fine that must not exceed $2,500 with a 90% surcharge.
It is a third-degree felony if the value of the stolen property exceeds $1,500 but is less than $5,000 and you have faced previous charges of theft, burglary, robbery, fraud or an attempt to commit any of these crimes; you can face a term of imprisonment of up to five years. The fine shouldn’t exceed $5,000 plus a 90% surcharge.
It is a second-degree felony when the stolen property meets or exceeds $5,000 in value; if the property sold is a firearm or an operable motor vehicle; if the defendant was armed with a dangerous weapon at the time of the theft; or if the property was stolen from another person. You can face imprisonment for between 1 year and 15 years. The fine imposed will not exceed $10,000 plus a 90% surcharge.
Call a Salt Lake City, UT Receiving Stolen Property Lawyer Darwin Overson Today
Attorney Darwin Overson is a trial-tested attorney. His reputation for skilled and aggressive criminal defense lawyering precedes him. Darwin will fight relentlessly so that you can avoid fines and the possibility of imprisonment. If you or someone you know has been charged with receiving stolen property in Salt Lake City, you should contact an attorney immediately. Call (801) 823-6934 to schedule a free legal consultation today.