“Receiving a stolen vehicle” is a crime that involves knowingly buying, receiving, concealing, selling or withholding a stolen vehicle from its owner.
This offense is considered a “wobbler” under California law, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case and your criminal history.
If you have been accused of receiving a stolen vehicle, it is crucial that you consult with a qualified and experienced attorney as soon as possible. At the Helfend Law Group, we have the expertise and dedication to help you navigate this challenging situation. Call us for a free case review.
What are California’s Laws for Receiving a Stolen Vehicle?
In California, the crime of receiving a stolen vehicle is governed by Penal Code § 496d PC. Under this statute, you can be charged with receiving a stolen vehicle if you:
- Buy or receive a stolen vehicle, knowing it is stolen.
- Conceal, sell, or withhold a stolen vehicle from the owner, knowing it is stolen.
To be convicted of this offense, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- You bought, received, concealed, sold, or withheld a stolen vehicle.
- You knew the vehicle was stolen at the time you received or possessed it.
It is important to note that you can be charged under Penal Code § 496d PC even if you did not personally steal the vehicle. The crucial element is that you knowingly possessed or controlled the stolen vehicle, and were aware of its stolen status.
Penalties If You Are Convicted of Receiving a Stolen Vehicle
As we mentioned above, receiving a stolen vehicle is a “wobbler” offense in California, which means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts of the case and your criminal history. A conviction for receiving a stolen vehicle under California law can carry penalties that include:
- Imprisonment: If convicted of receiving a stolen vehicle as a misdemeanor, you could face up to one year in county jail. If convicted as a felony, you could face 16 months, two years, or three years in California state prison.
- Fines: In addition to imprisonment, a conviction for receiving a stolen vehicle can result in a fine of up to $1,000 for a misdemeanor conviction or up to $10,000 for a felony conviction.
- Probation: If convicted, you may be placed on probation, which could include various conditions, such as community service, counseling or restitution.
- Restitution: If convicted of receiving a stolen vehicle, you may be ordered to pay restitution to the victim for any damages or losses they suffered as a result of the crime.
Defenses Against PC 496d Charges
There are several potential defenses to charges of receiving a stolen vehicle that an experienced attorney like Robert M. Helfend can explore on your behalf. Some of these defenses include:
- Lack of knowledge: If you can show that you did not know the vehicle was stolen at the time you received or possessed it, you may have a valid defense against receiving a stolen vehicle charges.
- Mistaken identity: If you can prove that you were not the person who received or possessed the stolen vehicle, you may be able to have the charges dismissed.
- Insufficient evidence: If the prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime, your attorney can argue for the charges to be dropped or for an acquittal at trial.
- Entrapment: If you can demonstrate that law enforcement induced you to commit the crime when you otherwise would not have done so, you may have a valid entrapment defense.
- Legitimate claim of ownership: If you had a good faith belief that you were the rightful owner of the vehicle or had a valid claim to it, you may be able to successfully defend against the charges.
It is important to remember that every case is unique, and the specific defenses available to you will depend on the facts and circumstances surrounding your case. An experienced attorney like Robert M. Helfend can thoroughly investigate your case, identify the most effective defenses, and advocate aggressively on your behalf.
If you have been accused of receiving a stolen vehicle in California, it is crucial to act quickly and secure skilled legal representation. With over 30 years of experience in criminal defense, Attorney Robert M. Helfend of the Helfend Law Group is rated by SuperLawyers and is a member of the National Trial Lawyers Top 100. Call today for a free case evaluation at 800-834-6434.