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Criminal Possession of Stolen Property

Many people are surprised to learn that they can be arrested for possessing stolen property even though they took no part in the taking of the property. In many of these cases, defenses to the criminal charges hinge on whether the person actually had knowledge that the item was stolen.

In the State of New York, these cases can result in a charge of criminal possession of stolen property. Other jurisdictions call the offense dealing in stolen property, trafficking stolen property or receiving stolen property. Many of these cases involve an allegation that a person sold or attempted to sell stolen property at a pawn shop or second hand store.

Queens Attorney for Criminal Possession of Stolen Property Charges

If you have been arrested for a felony or misdemeanor offense of criminal possession of stolen property in New York City then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Rochelle Berliner represents clients charged with criminal possession of stolen property throughout New York City including Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Manhattan.


NY Possession of Stolen Property Information Center


Elements of the Offense of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property

The mere possession of stolen property, even if you were not involved in the illegal taking of the property, can result in a misdemeanor or felony charge for "criminal possession of stolen property." Elements of the offense include proof that the person:

  1. knowingly possessed the property;
  2. knew that the property was stolen;
  3. had the intent to benefit himself or herself, a third party, or to impede the recovery by an owner.

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Different Types of Charges for Criminal Possession of Stolen Property

Criminal Possession of Stolen Property can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The seriousness of the charge depends on the alleged value of the property. If the value of the property exceeds:

  • one thousand dollars ($1,000) then the crime can be charged in the fourth degree;
  • three thousand dollars ($3,000) then the crime can be charged in the third degree;
  • fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) then the crime can be charged in the second degree ; or
  • one million dollars $1,000,000 then the crime can be charged in the first degree.

The value of the property usually means the "market value" of the property at the time and place the defendant is alleged to have possessed it. In certain cases, the prosecutor may argue that the value should be determined by looking at the cost of replacement of the property when the "fair market value" of the property cannot be otherwise determined.


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Definition of Stolen Property

The term "stolen property" is defined as property that has been wrongfully withheld, obtained or taken from an owner by a person who did so with the intent to deprive another of such property or to appropriate such property to himself or herself or a third person.


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Defenses to Possession of Stolen Property

It is generally not a defense to the charge of possession of stolen property that someone else actual stole the property even if that person has been identified, apprehended, or convicted of taking the property. It is also not generally a defense to the charge that the property was stolen outside the State of New York.


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Presumptions of Intent

Under the laws of the State of New York, the standard jury instructions provide that in certain circumstances the jury can be instructed that "a person who knowingly possesses stolen property is presumed to possess it with the intent to benefit himself or herself or a person other than an owner thereof or to impede its recovery by an owner thereof."

This means that, if the prosecutor has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly possessed stolen property, the jury may, but is not required to, infer from that fact that the defendant possessed it with the intent to benefit himself or herself, a third person, or impede its recovery by an owner.


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Misdemeanor Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree

Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree is considered a Class "A" misdemeanor under New York Penal Law Section 165.40. The crime of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree alleges that a person knowingly possesses stolen property, with intent to benefit himself or herself or a person other than an owner thereof or to impede the recovery by the real owner of the property.


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Felony Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree

Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree is considered a Class "E" felony under New York Penal Law Section 165.45(1). The crime of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree alleges that the value of the stolen property exceeded $1,000.00.


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Felony Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Third Degree

Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Third Degree is considered a Class "D" felony under New York Penal Law Section 165.50. The crime of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Third Degree alleges that the value of the stolen property exceeded $3,000.00.


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Felony Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree

Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree is considered a Class "C" felony under New York Penal Law Section 165.52. The crime of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree alleges that the value of the stolen property exceeded $50,000.00.


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Felony Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the First Degree

Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the First Degree is considered a Class "B" felony under New York Penal Law Section 165.54. The crime of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree alleges that the value of the stolen property exceeded $1,000,000.00.


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Finding a Criminal Defense Attorney for Possession of Stolen Property in New York City

If you are contacted by a law enforcement officer, including a police officer with the New York Police Department (NYPD) about possessing stolen property, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney before you make any statement.

Call the Law Offices of Rochelle Berliner to discuss any charged of Possessing Stolen Property in New York City in Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx or Manhattan. We can begin your defense today.

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