In New York when someone is in possession of stolen property, this crime falls under Penal Code 165. This crime is similar to grand larceny or petit larceny (shoplifting). This can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the value of the property that was stolen. Sentences can include jail or prison time, fines, restitution, and probation. Law enforcement and the court system take possession of stolen property very seriously. In this type of crime, the presumption is that the person in possession of the property is keeping it to benefit themselves. In addition, if they can not explain why they have the property, the assumption is that they are guilty. Finally, it doesn’t matter if the person in possession of the stolen property is not the person who actually stole it. Possession of stolen property and the actual larceny itself are two separate crimes.
New York Penal Code 165.40 – Broken Down
A person is guilty of breaking Penal Code 165.40 when he is knowingly in possession of stolen property, has the intent to benefit himself or someone other than the rightful owner, and intends to keep the property from the rightful owner. There are five different degrees of this crime, depending on the value of the property in question. Penal Code 165.40 covers the fifth degree, which is classified as a Class “A” misdemeanor and punishable by up to one year in jail. The other classifications rate the crime from fourth degree up to first degree with increasing amounts for the stolen property and increasingly serious consequences. Although this is classified as only a misdemeanor, possession of stolen property is still a crime. Being charged with 165.40 may not result in jail time, but it will leave a record that could follow you for the rest of your life.
Examples of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property
Anyone who shoplifts from a retailer and gets stopped with the merchandise still on them has broken Penal Code 165.40 because they are knowingly in possession of stolen merchandise. They could get charged with both petit larceny and possession of stolen property.
Someone who has possession of stolen property but does not know that it was stolen would not be guilty of Penal Code 165.4 because the code specifically says the person must know that the property was stolen. An example of this would be if someone bought merchandise from an online retailer such as EBay or Craig’s List. They would have no way of knowing the merchandise they purchased was stolen.
Possible Defenses to Penal Code 165.40
The strongest defense to a charge of criminal possession of stolen property is proving that the person in possession did not know that the property was stolen. The statute also states that a person in violation of Penal Code 165.40 has the intent to keep the property from the rightful owner. If the person in possession of the property intents to return it to the owner, that also could be a defense against the charge of criminal possession.
If you find yourself in possession of property that you suspect was stolen or are charged with a violation of Penal Code 165.40 in the New York area, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced New York criminal attorney who can advise you and defend you in a court of law if it comes to that. Experienced criminal attorneys know the best type of defense after they have had a chance to review all the details of each individual case.
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