Possessing stolen property in New York is a crime. Its likely surprising to no one – from your second cousin to your criminal defense attorney – that in addition to the theft of property, Petit Larceny or Grand Larceny, when you knowingly possess stolen property you have committed either a misdemeanor or a felony. Without breaking out each and every subsection of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property where certain types of property equate to specific felony crimes, the routine way the NYPD, local or county police, and the District Attorney determine the applicable degree of a Criminal Possession of Stolen Property arrest charge is value based. That means if it the property, no matter what it may be, is less than $1,000.00 it is a misdemeanor and if the value is greater than $1,000.00, $3,000.00, $50,000.00 or $1 million, then the crime is a felony that escalates from an “E” to a “B” respectively.
Well, the above is all great and good, but what if the property you are arrested for possessing was not stolen in the first place? Does it make a difference if you believed it was stolen even though it was not? What about if in fact it was stolen property, but you believed it was not? Why is this worthy of discussion? Because as you can consult with your criminal defense lawyer, should you be charged with any degree – misdemeanor or felony – of Criminal Possession of Stolen property – PL 165.40, PL 165.45, PL 165.50, PL 165.52 or PL 165.54 – and you are either unaware the property was stolen or it in fact was not stolen, then you have a defense to this set of crimes.
It is worth noting that in this particular case even though the goods in question were at one time stolen, “upon their recovery by police they lost their taint which thereby made it legally impossible for defendant to possess stolen property. It is irrelevant that, at the time of the sale to defendant, the true owners of the property had not been located; from the time of recovery, the police were, in effect, agents of the rightful owners holding the property on their behalf (see Penal Law, 450.10).”
In short, if you are arrested or indicted for any degree of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property if the goods in question are not stolen or there is evidence you were unaware of their stolen nature, then you may have a defense to at least lower the crime you face or potentially secure an even better resolution.
To better understand the nuances of theft and larceny laws in New York, including Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, examine this blog, the NewYorkCriminalLawyerBlog.Com or the websites listed below.
Crotty Saland PC is a New York criminal defense law practice representing clients in Criminal Possession of Stolen Property and related white collar crimes both in New York City and in many suburban towns and counties.