Is Receiving Stolen Property A Crime?

Thief steals a laptop bag from the passenger seat from an open car window. View from inside the automobile interior. Concept of robbery.

The general concept of theft is straightforward: if you take something that does not belong to you, you have committed the crime of theft. But you can also be charged with a theft crime if you acquire goods that were stolen or unlawfully obtained. This crime is commonly known as receiving stolen property. Connecticut statutes formally recognize the crime as a form of larceny.

Connecticut recognizes six degrees of larceny, ranging from larceny in the sixth degree to larceny in the first degree. The severity of the offense will be determined by the value of the property taken.

If you are facing larceny charges in Connecticut, criminal defense attorney Stephen Lebedevicth can help. He has extensive experience defending people who have been accused of many different crimes and will aggressively defend you against criminal charges. Stephen thoroughly investigates every criminal case he takes on, will keep you informed of what is happening with your case, and will work hard to obtain a successful resolution.

Connecticut’s Definition of Theft by Receiving Stolen Property

Under Connecticut law, the crime of theft by receiving stolen property occurs when a person “receives, retains, or disposes of stolen property knowing that it has probably been stolen or believing that it has probably been stolen, unless the property is received, retained or disposed of with purpose to restore it to the owner.” Connecticut Code Sec. 54a-119.

Many people are surprised to learn that they can be charged with receiving stolen property if they receive or obtain property that they know was stolen or believe has been stolen. The language in the Connecticut statute is open to interpretation, and a common question in cases involving allegations of receiving stolen property is whether the defendant should have suspected that the property they received did not belong to the person who sold it to them.

Of course, when the prosecutor can prove that the defendant knew the item was stolen, it is easy to prove the crime of receipt of stolen property. But it is more difficult when the prosecution must prove that the defendant should have known that the property was stolen. In these cases, the prosecutor must show that a “reasonable person” would have suspected that the item was stolen. The reasonable person standard means that if an average person would have been suspicious of the origin of the goods, then the defendant should have been as well.

For example, if a person did not receive a receipt or a bill of sale for the purchase of an expensive item, prosecutors will argue that the defendant should have been alerted to the possibility that the item was stolen. This fact will then be used as part of the prosecution’s case to show that the defendant knew or should have known that the property was stolen.

However, this standard can also work in favor of the defendant. If there was no reasonable way a person would have known that the goods were stolen, they cannot be convicted of receiving stolen property.

Is Receiving Stolen Property a Felony?

The severity of the punishment for the crime of receiving stolen property is determined by the value of the property that was taken. Stolen property valued at less than $2,000 will be charged as a misdemeanor, punishable by three months to a year in jail and a fine of $500 to $2,000.

If the value of the stolen property was more than $2,000, receiving stolen will be charged as a felony.

  • If the value of the stolen goods is between $2,000 and $10,000, you will face charges of larceny in the third degree, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • For stolen goods valued between $10,000 and $20,000, you can be charged with larceny in the second degree and will face up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • If the stolen goods are valued at greater than $20,000, you face charges of larceny in the first degree, punishable by up to twenty years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

Contact The Lebedevitch Law Firm for Aggressive Criminal Defense

Charges of larceny are serious, and you face substantial penalties if you are convicted.

At The Lebedevitch Law Firm, we represent people facing serious criminal charges. Whatever the nature of the allegations, our approach is thorough, and we leave no stone unturned. We will mount a vigorous defense that presents the whole picture and identifies the facts that make your case unique. Attorney Stephen Lebedevitch will protect your rights and fight to achieve the best result possible. He will take time to ensure that you are well informed about all of your options and the potential penalties you are facing. He will try to negotiate lesser charges, present mitigating circumstances to remove the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence, and argue to have your case dismissed.

Attorney Lebedevitch has earned an excellent reputation and will put his knowledge and experience to work for you.

Based in Fairfield, Connecticut, The Lebedevitch Law Firm handles criminal cases throughout Fairfield and New Haven Counties and charges predictable flat fees in criminal cases. Learn more about criminal defense attorney Stephen Lebedevitch, read reviews from other people he has helped, then contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Categories: Criminal Defense, Theft