Taking the property of another without permission is undoubtedly and obviously a crime in Massachusetts. But did you know that you could face criminal charges for receiving stolen property in Massachusetts? If you are facing criminal charges for receiving stolen property, it’s important that you understand your rights and legal options. Learn more about how this crime is defined, the elements for proving guilt, potential penalties, and defense options by calling The Law Offices of Paul R. Moraski today.
What Constitutes Receiving Stolen Property?
The crime of receiving stolen property is found in Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 266, Section 60. Under the law, it is illegal to buy, receive, or aid in the concealment of stolen or embezzled property. The elements that the prosecution must prove to secure a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt, and which constitute the crime per the code, include:
- The property in question was stolen (taken without the consent or permission of the rightful owner);
- The defendant in question purchased, received, aided, or assisted in the concealment of stolen property;
- The defendant did not attempt to return the property upon learning that it was stolen (if they did not know it was stolen at the time they received or purchased it);
- The defendant knew that the goods were stolen. This element can be complex to prove and is subject to the “reasonable person” standard. In other words, the court will consider whether a reasonable person in the same situation would have known that the property was stolen.
Penalties for a Criminal Conviction
If you are convicted of receiving stolen property, you may face serious consequences. In addition to a period of incarceration and fines, you will also have a permanent mark on your criminal record, which could tarnish your personal and professional reputation and limit your ability to secure housing, education, future employment, etc. As found in the same section of code referenced above, the penalties for a criminal conviction include imprisonment for up to 2.5 years or/and a fine of up to $3,000 if the value of the property does not exceed $1,200; should the value of the property exceed this amount, the penalties are increased to imprisonment in the state prison for up to five years or/and a fine of up to $5,000 for a first-time offense. Subsequent offenses are punished more harshly.
Legal Actions to Take After Purchasing or Receiving Stolen Property
If you have purchased or received stolen property, the first thing that you should do upon learning that the property is stolen is to notify the police. If you fail to do this or are in any way an accomplice to the theft, you could face criminal charges. If you are arrested and charged with the crime, it is strongly recommended that you seek legal counsel immediately.
At The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski, our criminal defense attorney can help. Call today at (978) 397-0011 for a consultation that’s confidential.