A Lake Forest man has been charged with Receiving Stolen Property after Fountain Valley Police responded to an unrelated call at a warehouse where the Lake Forest man was. Upon their arrival, they discovered that he was in possession of a motorcycle that had previously been reported stolen. The suspect ran from police, but was chased and eventually stopped by a K-9 unit.
This man had been sought by Orange County Sheriff’s Investigators as a suspect in 7 motorcycle thefts. They had previously gone to the man’s home and discovered 6 stolen motorcycles, but he fled before they arrived.
A person is considered to have committed the crime of possession of stolen property or receiving stolen property if he or she has the property that was gained by theft, fraud or any other crime. The person must also have knowledge that the property was stolen or gained by fraud. If the prosecution can show that it was obvious that a reasonable person had this knowledge but ignored, or chose not to investigate further, they can be found guilty of the charges.
Receiving stolen property under California Penal Code 496 is considered a “wobbler”. This means that, depending on the circumstances of the case and the criminal history of the accused, it can either be filed as a felony or a misdemeanor. If convicted of a misdemeanor, the sentence is up to one year in County Jail. But if convicted of a felony, the sentence is 16 months to 3 years in State Prison.
There are several defenses that, in this case, an experienced Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney should consider, depending on the circumstances of the case. Some of the more common are: Mistake of fact, meaning that he didn’t know that the property was stolen. Also, believing that he had a right to the property. If either or both of these can be proven, he cannot be convicted of the charge. Similarly, if he didn’t know that he possessed the stolen property, in other words, someone placed the property in his possession without his knowledge, he would be entitled to an acquittal.
In choosing an attorney, in this case, this man will need the advice and representation of an experienced Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney, specializing in Receiving and/or Possession of Stolen Property. A good Criminal Defense Attorney will do what is necessary to get the charges reduced to a misdemeanor, if filed as a felony, and to minimize the exposure of time he may be facing. Along with that, an attorney familiar with the laws, defenses and the Orange County Courts, will be able to maximize all defenses and opportunities available in this type of case.
If you would like to know more about Receiving Stolen Property or Possession of Stolen Property, contact Orange County California Criminal Defense Attorney William M. Weinberg at williamweinberg.com or at his Irvine, California office at 949-474-8008.