With all the online sellers using social media to find buyers in greater Phoenix it is not unheard of that some buyers do not know they are getting property that has been stolen. Legal trouble later is a big, bad surprise.
Buying a flat screen TV from the back of a pickup truck in a shopping center parking lot is problematic, and a person looking for an electric guitar online from a private party is still risky.
Unknowingly buying stolen property is not an excuse. You can still be prosecuted. That is because the law wants to discourage anyone to benefit from a crime. A person who knowingly buys something that was stolen is colluding with the criminal and is equally guilty.
The seriousness of the charge, misdemeanor or felony, depends upon how much the allegedly stolen property was worth under Arizona Revised Statute §13-1802
. Stolen items valued at or less than $1,000 is a misdemeanor, more than $1,000 is charged as a felony.
Both misdemeanors and felonies have levels of seriousness with a Class 1 the most serious and a Class 6 the least serious.
Value levels for felonies
If the value of the stolen property is $25,000 or more, the offense is a Class 2 felony.
Values less than $25,000 but more than $4,000 is a Class 3 felony.
Values of $3,000 but less than $4,000 is a Class 4 felony.
Values of $2,000 but less than $3,000 is a Class 5 felony.
Values of $2,000 but less than $3,000 is a Class 6 felony.
Felony punishments for receiving stolen property
Arizona’s complex sentencing guidelines range in mitigated, minimum, presumptive, maximum and aggravated. Judges have the discretion of determining the length of prison sentences.
A Class 2 felony is three years with mitigating factors, or the minimum of four years and a maximum of 10 years. An aggregated factor raises the prison sentence to 12.5 years.
A Class 3 felony carries a mitigated term of two years, or a minimum of four years, a maximum of 10 years and the aggravated range is 8.75 years.
A Class 4 felony punishment is one year for mitigated factors, or a minimum of 1.5 years and a maximum of 3.75 years. Aggravated boosts the sentence to 3.75 years.
A Class 5 felony is a mitigated term of six months, or a minimum of .75 years and a maximum of two years. An aggravated charge increases the sentence to 2.5 years.
The Class 6 felony is .33 years for mitigated, or a minimum of six months and a maximum of 1.5 years in prison.
After serving a prison sentence, the felon will be ordered by the court to a term of probation. For a Class 2 felony, the probation is for seven years; a Class 3 probation is five years. For Classes 4 and 5, the term is four years and a Class 6 probation is three years.
Life altering ramifications for felons
Beyond the incarceration, fines and probation, a convicted felon will lose the civil right to buy, own or possess a firearm; and if that is violated, it paves the path back to prison. A convicted felon also cannot vote in elections, hold public office, serve on jury duty, or enlist in the military.
Licensed professionals will have their license to practice revoked or suspended.
The felony conviction remains on the public record for 99 years. Anyone can see it, so landlords can refuse to rent a felon a place to live and employers can refuse to offer a job. In addition, a convicted felon who is on probation cannot get social security benefits or food stamps.
Punishments in a misdemeanor receiving stolen property conviction
A Class 1 misdemeanor is punished by a maximum of six months in county jail and fines and surcharges that can total $2,500.
The judge may order that the convicted misdemeanor defendant be held in custody until the sentence has been served under Arizona Revised Statute §13-707
Do this when confronted by police
Begin your defense by refusing to convict yourself when confronted by the authorities who launch into a barrage of questions. The answers become state evidence to be used against you.
It may be uncomfortable to decline to talk to police, but you have the constitutional right under the Fifth Amendment that protects you from self-incrimination. You also have the right to a defense attorney.
At the instant of an arrest, the officer must recite to you these civil rights, called Miranda rights from an Arizona case, so it is best to politely invoke them from the beginning.
Defenses for receiving stolen property in Arizona
The defense will conduct an independent probe of the evidence, both gathered by police and the procedures used during their investigation, for errors or omissions in the police report. Police can gloss over mitigating factors that could help your defense.
Taking some precautionary measures such as asking for the seller’s purchase receipt can show personal honesty and that you had no intent to commit a crime. A person who does not have any previous arrests will bolster your defense and help in negotiating a plea agreement.
The defense can dispute the monetary value of the allegedly stole property to reduce the seriousness of the offense, and if the defense finds holes in the state’s case, a dismissal of the charge is possible.
Every case has its particular set of facts and other defenses may be available.
Get legal representation immediately
The passing of time is important, so it is crucial to start your defense quickly while memory is still fresh.
I have a history of working aggressively to achieve a dismissal of the charge by finding holes in the state’s case or by negotiating a plea agreement to a lesser charge.
For defendants who had no idea that the property was stolen, I can present mitigating evidence to support that you had no intention of committing a crime.
In using Aaron M. Black Law for your defense, you will have personalized service throughout the process. A common complaint people have about their attorney is that they did not have personal contact with the lawyer. That does not happen at Aaron M. Black Law. You will always be talking to me.
Start your defense by calling 480-729-1683 at any time on any day, even holidays and weekends, or use my online contact form
and I will promptly respond unless I am in court or at trial.
I defend receiving stolen property cases in federal, state, municipal and justice courts in and adjacent to Maricopa County.