Things to Understand About a Criminal Charge for Possession of Stolen Goods

Possession of stolen property can result in criminal penalties, especially if that property is valuable. This seems entirely unfair to someone who didn’t know the item was stolen upon purchasing it. The prosecution is required to prove this individual is guilty, but the person will still need a criminal defense attorney if he or she has been charged with this offense. A website such as provides information about one particular law firm that is ready to assist.

Many people are somewhat familiar with the problematic aspect of buying stolen goods but don’t realize this is a criminal offense. Instead, they may view the only risk as having to hand over the items to law enforcement if theft was involved. The prosecution, however, takes the stance that people who are holding stolen items probably knew the items were not obtained legally. Even if this isn’t the case, the legal system doesn’t view ignorance of the law as a good defense.

Charges involving possession of stolen goods can be either misdemeanors or felonies; the determination depends on several factors. One factor is the value of the items in possession. Another is whether the person engaged in further illegal activity after receiving an item.

Consider someone who is arrested because he or she has been found with an expensive watch that had been stolen in a burglary. The police may have received a tip in regard to who was selling items from this burglary and information identifying purchasers. The situation escalates if this individual had sold, or tried to sell, the watch to a pawn shop or other dealer. Now the person might be implicated in a theft conspiracy or in trafficking of stolen goods. Representation from a firm is essential to prevent the worst consequences.

Even misdemeanors under the charge of possession of stolen goods can result in a jail sentence unless the value was very low. If a felony charge is issued, the possible length of incarceration is significantly increased. A criminal defense lawyer counsels clients about how to proceed and provides aggressive legal representation.