Believe it or not, simply being in possession of stolen property is a crime in New Jersey. Although it is formally called “receiving stolen property,” any way you slice it, it is still a crime.
It is imperative that you understand what is at stake if you are caught receiving stolen property.
What is Receiving Stolen Property?
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7, a person can be convicted of receiving stolen property if he knowingly received or brought the movable property of another into New Jersey while knowing that it has been stolen or believing that it probably was stolen.
Notice that the statute uses the word knowing twice. This is not redundant.
In order to be found guilty, you first must have known that you received the goods and then you must have known (or reasonably believed) that the goods were stolen.
In other words, if you did not know that you were in receipt of the stolen goods, you cannot be guilty.
Likewise, if you had no grounds to suspect that the goods were stolen, you also cannot be guilty.
Similarly, if you received the property with the purpose of restoring it to the true owner, then you will not be guilty.
Moreover, for the purposes of this law, “receiving” involves acquiring possession, control, or title over the property. Lending on the security of the property is also considered “receiving” it.
In certain circumstances, the law will presume that you had the requisite level of knowledge.
For example, if any of the following occur, New Jersey law will presume that you knew that you received the goods and knew (or reasonably believed) that the goods were stolen:
- You are found in possession or control of two or more items of property that were stolen on two or more separate occasions
- You received stolen property in another transaction within the year preceding the transaction you are now involved in and being charged for
- You are a person who is in the business of buying or selling the kind of property that you received, but failed to find out (by reasonable inquiry) that the person you got the property from had a legal right to possess and dispose of it before acquiring it
- You are found in possession of two or more defaced access devices
What are the Penalties for Possessing Stolen Property in NJ ?
The penalty for being in possession of stolen property (i.e. receiving stolen property) can be found in N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11.
The value of the item you are found to have in your possession will determine the seriousness of the penalty you face.
If the property was valued at more than $75,000, you can be imprisoned for 5-10 years and fined up to $150,000.
If the property was valued at more than $500 but less than $75,000, you can be imprisoned for 3-5 years and fined up to $15,000.
If the property was valued at $200-$500, you can be imprisoned for 18 months and fined up to $10,000.
Who Should You Contact?
If you or a loved one has been charged with being in possession of stolen property in New Jersey (i.e. receiving stolen property in NJ), contact Adam H. Rosenblum of The Rosenblum Law Firm today. His team ofNew Jerseycriminal defense attorneys will do all they can to protect your legal rights and fight to keep you out of jail. E-mail or call 888-815-3649 today.