How to Beat a Possession of Stolen Property Charge

Posted on Monday, January 1st, 2024 at 9:00 am    

How to Beat a Possession of Stolen Property Charge

Receiving and possessing stolen property in Illinois is a criminal offense. Sometimes, even unsuspecting individuals can get caught up in the possession of stolen property, resulting in criminal charges and significant legal repercussions. Possession of stolen property charges can hurt you personally, professionally, and financially. If you face criminal charges for possessing stolen property, you need legal help.

At Bruno Law Offices, our experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyers are ready to step in and help you resolve your legal issues. What is considered stolen property? How do you beat a receiving stolen property charge? Let us help you understand the Illinois criminal justice system.

What Is a Possession of Stolen Property Charge?

Illinois law stipulates that it is unlawful to knowingly obtain control over stolen property or possess property that a reasonable person can deduce could be considered stolen. What does that mean for possession of stolen property prosecution in an Illinois court? It means that a prosecutor must demonstrate that an individual:

  • Knowingly obtained or controlled stolen property
  • Under reasonable circumstances, should know or deduce the property was stolen
  • Intends to deprive the rightful owner of the property permanently
  • Knowingly uses, conceals, or disposes of the stolen property to deprive the rightful owner of the property

Individuals cannot obtain, possess, or legally sell property deemed stolen.

Penalties for a Possession of Stolen Property Charge in Illinois

Like other charges in Illinois involving theft, the penalties for possession of stolen property depend on the property’s value. Possession of stolen property can be a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor charges involve property valued under $500. Possessing property over the value of $500 is a felony offense. Penalties for possession of stolen property conviction include:

Class A Misdemeanor

  • Fines up to $2,500
  • Up to one year in jail

Class 2 Felony

  • Fines up to $25,000
  • Up to seven years in prison

Individuals possessing less than $500 worth of stolen property can also face felony possession of stolen property charges if they have a previous theft conviction on their criminal record. Possessing excessive amounts of stolen property may also result in more significant penalties.

A possession of stolen property conviction will leave you with a criminal record, making finding employment, educational opportunities, and housing options significantly more challenging.

How to Beat a Possession of a Stolen Property Charge

How to Beat a Possession of Stolen Property Charge

Can a person be guilty of possession of stolen property if the person does not know the property is stolen? The answer is complicated and depends on the circumstances of the situation. There are legal strategies that may help an individual beat possession of a stolen property charge when they are accused of possessing stolen goods. Which strategy offers the best chance of obtaining a favorable result is fact-specific and depends on the circumstances of your unique situation. Some of the legal tactics that may be helpful in possession of stolen property cases involve:

  • Lack of intent – The individual did not knowingly intend to possess the stolen property.
  • Lack of knowledge – An individual had no reasonable way of knowing that the property was stolen. Perhaps it was a gift or purchased from someone they thought to be a reputable retailer. In either case, there is no way the person reasonably knew the illegal status of the property.
  • Lack of evidence – The prosecution lacks the evidence needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused individual knowingly possessed stolen property.

There are other tactics and procedural challenges an experienced criminal defense attorney can make that may lead to reduced charges or a dismissal.

At Bruno Law Offices, we’ll take the time to thoroughly review your situation and craft a personalized defense plan that offers the best chance at a favorable outcome. We understand how stressful it can be to face criminal charges and the potential or life-changing penalties. We’ll do everything in our power to protect your legal rights and fight for you.

Discuss Your Legal Options with a Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Discuss your legal options with an experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyer immediately. Do not attempt to talk your way out of the situation or attempt to “prove” your innocence to law enforcement. They can and will use your statements against you. Instead, talk to a criminal defense lawyer with Bruno Law Offices for help managing your case. For over 35 years, we’ve provided personalized legal services to our clients.

Call our Illinois office today at (217) 328-6000 or contact us online and request a confidential legal consultation about how we can create a legal defense for you.