If you find yourself in possession of stolen property, beware of the repercussions. Even if you didn’t partake in the actual thievery, you can still be charged under Penal Code Section 496(a) PC. The charge can be so serious that it results with a felony conviction. Theft crimes are taken very seriously in Los Angeles.
There are several proofs that a prosecutor must present in order to convict an individual of a crime through possession of stolen property. This is much easier to defend than it is to prosecute. The following two elements must be proved before an individual can be convicted:
First, the prosecution has to prove that the defendant has in his possession, property that is actually stolen. Even if the individual bought the stolen property as second hand, it is considered in their possession.
Second, the prosecution has to prove that the defendant had full knowledge that the property was stolen. Penal Code 496 PC states:
“Every person who buys or receives any property that has been stolen or that has been obtained in any manner constituting theft or extortion, knowing the property to be so stolen or obtained, or who conceals, sells, withholds, or aids in concealing, selling, or withholding any property from the owner, knowing the property to be so stolen or obtained [is guilty of a crime]”.
If found guilty of violating penal code 496 PC, an individual could be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. In California law, this kind of crime is called a wobbler crime. It is left in the hands of the prosecutor to charge it as a misdemeanor or felony and then in the hands of the judge to convict accordingly.
As a misdemeanor charge, an individual is looking at a maximum of one year jail time in the county jail. A $1,000 maximum fine can also be levied on the individual. If the judge thinks the convicted will do better with misdemeanor probation, they can sentence that in place of jail time. It should be noted that possession of stolen goods charge can only be considered as a misdemeanor if the value of the stolen property is less than $950.
A felony charge is much more serious. A three year maximum prison sentence and a maximum of $10,000 fine is the potential punishment for a convicted felony charge. A judge can award part of the three years imprisonment as probation if the individual behaves well during his initial imprisonment.The victim could potentially claim up to three times the value of the stolen goods from the defendant in addition to the other punishments.
If an individual is convicted of possession of stolen property and they’re in the process of immigrating, there can be serious consequences. Because it’s a crime involving moral turpitude, it can cause immediate deportation. It’s also a possibility that the crime is flagged as inadmissible. That means when you leave the country, you are not granted admission back into the country.
There are several ways to defend the charges against you, including representing yourself. However, in order to get a felony charge down, it would be wise to employ an excellent attorney. The lawyers at H Law Group can help create a defense that will surely diminish the consequences. Let the professionals help you if you find yourself charged with possession of a stolen item.