Receiving Stolen Property

RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY (drop down option 1d- in the theft drop down menu-)

PC 496 – The elements of receiving stolen property under California Penal Code 496(a) are:

  • Buying, receiving, concealing, selling or withholding property obtained through any enumerated theft crime or extortion;
  • Property known to be stolen (or the product of a theft crime or extortion);
  • Having possession of the stolen property;
  • Helping another person in buying, receiving, concealing, selling or withholding property obtained through enumerated theft crimes or extortion.

What if I did not know the property was “stolen”?

State must prove the “Reasonableness Standard.”

  • If the state can prove that a person in your same position at the time of receiving the property in question did in fact know (had actual knowledge), or should have known (had constructive knowledge) that the property was stolen, then the knowledge element has been met.

The “reasonableness” standard for “knowing the property to be stolen” under PC 496 of the Code depends on totality of your specific situation, ranging from:

  • your age,
  • education,
  • profession and
  • previous criminal record (if applicable).

DEFENSE:  A good faith belief that the goods were not in fact stolen might be sufficient to knock-out this required element.

What is restitution?

  • Restitution is paying the victim back for the value of the items or money that you stole from him or her.
  • Most theft punishments will require you to pay restitution to the victim.

What is probation or parole?

  • Probation or parole requires you to be supervised by a probation or parole officer for a certain period of time.
  • You may be subject to certain requirements of probation or parole, such as keeping appointments with your assigned officer, paying fees, completing work or community service requirements, undergoing drug and/or alcohol screenings, and anything else that your officer might require.
  • If you don’t comply with the requirements of your probation or parole, then you risk going back to jail or prison to serve the remainder of your sentence.

What is community service?

  • As part of your punishment, you can be ordered to perform a certain amount of community service, which is work that you perform for free that benefits a governmental or non-profit organization.
  • Community service is usually set up through the court system, and in California, can include the CalTrans program, which involves freeway clean-up.