Receiving Stolen Property | CA PC 496

Property crimes are the most frequent criminal acts that occur in the United States. While they are often not considered nearly as heinous as violent acts, they are still frequently punishable by severe penalties. Everyone knows that stealing is against the law, but what many individuals don’t realize is that they can be criminally liable for even receiving stolen property. This is why it’s important for everyone to understand the law and what they face if arrested.

What is Receiving of Stolen Property?

Actually, receiving stolen property is one of the simplest crimes to define; it’s literally exactly what it says. Anyone who buys, receives, withholds or conceals property that they know was stolen is guilty of this violation. In addition, a person who sells stolen property can also be additionally charged. Because of this technicality, the person who stole the property can actually be charged with the crime; but legally, they can only be charged with receiving the property or actually stealing it and not with selling it.

Bail Amounts for Receiving Stolen Property

The State of California does not set bail amounts; each individual county does that. This means that bail amounts for receiving stolen property can vary by jurisdiction. In Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Diego Counties, for instance, bail for this charge is set at $20,000. In San Diego, this amount is the maximum, but in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, these amounts go up as the specific stolen property value rises.

For instance, in Santa Barbara County, a person’s bail amount will be equal to the value of the property received if it is over $20,000. Some counties, however, aren’t nearly as harsh. San Benito County, for instance, has bail set at $10,000; but this bail is set for any property received that’s valued at over $400. These bail amounts are obviously inaccessible to most, but luckily, California bail agencies are only allowed to charge up to 10% of the set amount. Bail Hotline even offers a defendant payment options, for those who need them.

Penalties for Receiving Stolen Property

Penalties for receiving stolen property also vary. This is because the crime is considered a “wobbler,” and this means that it can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. The prosecutor will consider the circumstances of each individual case and the offender’s criminal history when making this call.

An individual convicted for a misdemeanor under this statute can face a year in jail. A person convicted of a felony, on the other hand, can face up to three years in prison. Also, if the property received was a vehicle, including a boat, a trailer or certain construction equipment, additional fines can be levied. The law allows the victim of the crime to collect, in civil court, up to three times the property value of what they lost as well. Additionally, the person facing these penalties will have to cover the victim’s attorney fees.
After looking at the aforementioned penalties, there’s no doubt that receiving stolen property is considered a very serious crime. Considering the substantial financial impact alone, it’s imperative for a person to obtain their freedom and quickly find a good attorney to build a proper defense. In reality, a person could face penalties just as bad, if not worse, as the person who initially stole the property if they do not win their case.

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