Receiving Stolen Property
If you have stolen property that was in your possession, you could be convicted of either a misdemeanor or felony under Illinois law depending on the value of the property. If you are convicted of receiving stolen property in Chicago, Cook County or elsewhere in the state of Illinois, you may face considerable jail or prison time, fines, restitution, probation, and a permanent felony record. Additionally, because receiving stolen property is a form of theft, which is a crime of moral turpitude, you could face additional penalties, such as loss of your professional license.Cook County Criminal Defense Lawyer with More Than 20 Years of Experience
Chicago criminal defense attorney David L. Freidberg has decades of experience defending the rights of those charged with felony or misdemeanor offenses. At The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, we have represented hundreds of defendants charged with receiving stolen property and theft related charges. Our firm is dedicated to individualized and effective client representation. We understand the seriousness of the charges you face and work to provide you with the best legal outcome. Thorough investigations and extensive knowledge of the law can make the difference between years in prison or dismissal of your charges.Understanding the Crime of Receiving Stolen Property Under Illinois Criminal Law (720 ILCS 5/16-1)
The crime of receiving stolen property falls under the broader charge of theft. Theft in Illinois does not solely involve the taking of the property of another. An individual will also commit theft if he or she knowingly obtains property after it has been stolen. The crime, set out in 720 ILCS 5/16-1-4, can be broken down into following elements:
- Obtains or exerts control over property;
- Knowing it was stolen; or
- Under circumstances that would reasonably induce him or her to believe the property was stolen; and
- Intends to deprive the owner permanently of the property; or
- Knowingly uses, disposes of, or conceals the property to deprive the owner permanently of its use; or
- Uses, conceals, or disposes of the property knowing that this action will probably deprive the owner permanently of use of the property.
Looking to the individual elements, the defendant must first knowingly obtain or exert control over the property. This encompasses more than taking the property. It could include holding the property, as often done by pawnshop owners. The crime can be charged on the basis of actual knowledge or merely constructive knowledge. Defendants cannot claim ignorance if the circumstances surrounding the property should have alerted them to the fact the property may have been stolen. Failure to inquire as to paperwork or other evidence of ownership can form the basis for a receiving stolen property charge if a reasonable person would have inquired into such facts given the circumstances.
The final elements involve the intent to deprive the owner permanently of the property. This element can be met by showing the defendant planned to sell the property, give it to someone other than the owner, or refused to return it to the owner without compensation.
Another form of receiving stolen property is set out in 720 ILCS 5/16-1-5 . A person can be charged under this provision if they obtain or exert control over property in the control of any law enforcement agency when a law enforcement officer or anyone acting on their behalf has informed the individual that the property is stolen or represents circumstances that would induce a person to believe the property was stolen. The defendant must also meet the requirement of intent to deprive the owner permanently of the stolen property.Punishment for Receiving Stolen Property Under Illinois Law
Receiving stolen property is either a felony or misdemeanor, depending upon the value of the property received, along with other factors surrounding the crime. For instance, theft of property not exceeding $500 and not from the person will be a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a fine not to exceed $2,500. The charge will rise to a felony if the defendant has a previous conviction for any sort of theft, robbery, or burglary crime.
Punishments increase with the value of the property taken or received. If the property was worth between $500 and $10,000, it is a Class 2 felony, punishable by a minimum of three years in prison and a maximum of seven, along with fines of up to $25,000. Thefts of property exceeding $1,000,000 will result in a Class X felony, the most severe offense under Illinois law. These offenders will face a minimum of six years in prison and a maximum of 30, along with harsh fines.Defending Against Receiving Stolen Property Charges
Depending upon the value of the property allegedly taken and the circumstances surrounding the crime, a defendant charged with receiving stolen property may face extensive prison time, fines, restitution, probation, and a permanent felony record. It is essential that those charged with receiving stolen property obtain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney who will be able to investigate the evidence surrounding the alleged crime and mount a strong defense.
Your exact defense against receiving stolen property charges will depend on the unique facts of your case. Pawnshop owners or operators are often charged with this crime because they deal in receiving property from people, then selling the property in exchange for monetary compensation. It is not always easy for a pawnshop operator to determine whether the property is stolen. Defense in cases like this could include due diligence on the part of the pawnshop owner.
A receiving stolen property conviction will often turn on the knowledge that the property was stolen element. If the defendant did not know the true nature of the property and circumstances should not necessarily have alerted him or her to this fact, a conviction for receiving stolen property cannot stand. Further, if the defendant only learned of the property’s stolen nature after its receipt, he or she may be charged with possessing stolen property rather than receiving it.
Further, this crime requires that the defendant intends to deprive the owner permanently of the property. If you can produce evidence to show that you intended to return the item to its owner or the police, this may be an effective defense against the charge of receiving stolen property.
As is evident from this brief look at a few possible defense strategies, defending against a charge of receiving stolen property is complex and will require seasoned legal help. Contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to review your rights and options.Speak to Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney David L. Freidberg Today!
Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney David L. is dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals charged with felony or misdemeanor crimes across the state. David L. Freidberg will carefully analyze the facts of your case to build the strongest possible defense against the receiving stolen property or related charges lodged against you. Our firm understands that when you are charged with a crime, your very freedom and livelihood are at stake. We devote all our time and resources to fighting for your best legal outcome. Call The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.