Receiving and Being in Possession of Stolen Property: Two Sides of the Same Coin
In Oklahoma, receiving stolen property is basically the same thing as being caught in possession of stolen property. The law defines it as either buying or receiving personal property, regardless of value, which has been stolen, embezzled, obtained by robbery or deceit, knowing or having reasonable cause to know that it has been stolen, or concealing such property from the owner. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1713. Receiving stolen property means that it is in your possession.
How It Happens
It happens more often than we think. We run across a great deal – one that seems too good to be true. A guy on the street corner opens up his jacket to an array of Rolex watches for $100 each. We probably should know better, but we fork over $100 and take a watch. If that property was stolen, you could be convicted of receiving stolen property. And in Oklahoma, that can be mean serious trouble. A deal that is seems to be too good to be true probably is.
You Must Make a Reasonable Inquiry
In essence, if a reasonable person would ask where the property came from, thinking it might be stolen, you should too. The law states that if you buy, receive, conceal or withhold stolen property or aid another person in doing so, and fail to make a reasonable inquiry regarding that person’s legal right to sell or deliver that property to you, in circumstances in which a reasonable person would make such an inquiry, you will be presumed to have obtained the property knowing that it was stolen. This presumption is rebuttable by proof. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1713.
This presumption is a powerful tool in the prosecutor’s arsenal of weapons. Normally, the prosecutor has the burden of proving all elements of a crime. Here though, the burden shifts to the defendant to prove that he or she had no knowledge that the property was stolen. It is a distinct disadvantage to the defense.
When it looks and smells and acts like a duck, it is always advisable to ask if that person has the legal right to sell the duck to you. Because the law implies a rebuttable presumption, small factual details matter quite a bit and may mean the difference between jail and freedom. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney can make the difference.
If the property is worth $1,000 or more, the crime is a felony, punishable by as many as five years in prison, or as much as one year in the county jail. And you could be fined as much as $500. The crime is a misdemeanor if the property is worth less than $1,000. In that case, the crime is punishable by a fine of as much as $500. And you could be jailed for as many as six months. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1713.
If you are facing charges of being in possession of stolen property in Claremore, it is best to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you make the best of the situation. There are defenses that are available to you.
Free Consultation With An Experienced Claremore Criminal Defense Attorney
This is a situation in which an attorney can really make a difference. Small facts can make a big difference in terms of building a strong defense. We at the Claremore Lawyer are here to help you. Don’t delay. Call us today. And the initial consultation is free. Call us at (918) 213-0950. If you prefer written correspondence, submit your question using the form at the top right of this page.