Receiving Stolen Property: Penal Code 496
A person can be charged with receiving stolen property (Penal Code 496) when:
1. Either he buys or receives property that has been stolen or obtained through theft or extortion OR conceals, sells, or withholds property from the owner, AND
2. Knows the property is stolen or obtained through theft or extortion
Receiving stolen property is what is referred to as a “wobbler,” which means it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. If the value of the property is $950 or less, the crime must be charged as a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. A felony conviction can result up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A person cannot be convicted under both PC 496 and another theft statute for the same stolen property.
It’s important to speak with a criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with receiving stolen property. The penalties can be tough but there are defenses such as you didn’t know the property was stolen.
In addition to facing criminal charges, you may also face a civil lawsuit. The victim in a receiving stolen property case can bring a civil suit against you for three times the amount of the actual damages as well as the cost of the lawsuit and attorney’s fees.