Receiving Stolen Property

 Law Offices of Nam Q. Doan

It is a crime to buy or receive property that is stolen or that has been obtained in any manner that constitutes theft or extortion. You must actually know that the property was stolen.

Receiving stolen property is a wobbler. This means that it can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. A felony conviction can be punishable by up to three years in state prison, whereas a misdemeanor conviction can be punishable by up to one year in county jail.

The person who stole the property can be convicted of a theft crime or the crime of receiving stolen property, but they cannot be convicted of both crimes from the same incident.

If convicted of this theft crime, the victim may be entitled to restitution. A victim may be entitled to three times the amount of damages (dollar amount lost), cost of lawsuit, and attorneys’ fees.


The punishment for a receiving stolen property conviction will depend on whether the crime was charged as a felony or a misdemeanor:


A felony conviction is punishable by up to three years in state prison.


A misdemeanor conviction is punishable by up to one year in county jail.

Enhanced Penalty: Vehicle Involvement

If a vehicle was involved in the crime, you can be fine up to $10,000 for a felony and $1,000 for a misdemeanor.


You may also be ordered to pay restitution to the victim.


The defendant is charged with receiving stolen property in violation of Penal Code section 496(a).

To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that:

  1. The defendant (bought/received/sold/aided in selling/concealed or withheld from its owner/aided in concealing or withholding from its owner) property that had been (stolen/obtained by extortion); [AND]
  2. When the defendant (bought/received/sold/aided in selling/concealed or withheld/aided in concealing or withholding) the property, (he/she) knew that the property had been (stolen/obtained by extortion)(;/.) AND
  3. The defendant actually knew of the presence of the property.]

[Property is stolen if it was obtained by any type of theft, or by burglary or robbery.

[Theft includes obtaining property by larceny, embezzlement, false pretense, or trick.]]

[Property is obtained by extortion if: (1) the property was obtained from another person with that person’s consent, and (2) that person’s consent was obtained through the use of force or fear.]

[To receive property means to take possession and control of it. Mere presence near or access to the property is not enough.] [Two or more people can possess the property at the same time.] [A person does not have to actually hold or touch something to possess it. It is enough if the person has [control over it] [or] [the right to control it], either personally or through another person.]

If you are facing receiving stolen property charges, call the Law Offices of Nam Q. Doan | OC Legal Defense today at (714) 248-DOAN (3626).