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What happens if I’m caught receiving stolen property in New Jersey?

March 21, 2024 Uncategorized

What Happens if I’m Caught Receiving Stolen Property in New Jersey?

Hey there! If you’re reading this, you’re probably worried about being charged with receiving stolen property in New Jersey. Don’t worry, I totally get it. This stuff can be really scary and confusing. But stick with me, and I’ll walk you through everything you need to know.

First off, let’s cover the basics. In New Jersey, receiving stolen property is illegal under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7. This law says it’s a crime if you “knowingly receive or bring into this State movable property of another knowing that it has been stolen, or believing that it has probably been stolen.”

So in plain English, if the cops find you with something that’s stolen, and they think you knew it was stolen or probably stolen, you could get charged with this crime. It doesn’t matter if you’re the one who actually stole it or not. Just having it is enough.

Now, what exactly counts as “receiving” stolen property? Well, the law says it includes “acquiring possession, control or title, or lending on the security of the property.” So basically, if the stolen item ends up in your hands in any way, that could get you in trouble.

What Are the Penalties if Convicted?

OK, so you’re probably wondering – what happens if I actually get convicted of receiving stolen property in NJ? Well, the penalties depend on a few factors, like:

  • The value of the stolen property – the higher the value, the more serious the crime
  • Your criminal record – repeat offenders get hit harder
  • The specific circumstances of your case

But in general, here’s what you can expect:

  • Fines up to $150,000
  • Jail time ranging from a few months up to 10 years in prison
  • Permanent criminal record
  • Difficulty finding a job, getting licensed, etc. due to criminal record

So yeah, we’re talking about some pretty hefty punishments here, folks. This is not something you want on your rap sheet.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
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Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
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Bee L
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Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Can I Get the Charges Dismissed or Reduced?

Now, before you panic, let me give you some good news. Even if you’re arrested for receiving stolen property in New Jersey, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get convicted or face the max penalties.

A skilled criminal defense attorney can often get the charges against you dismissed or reduced. For example, if the prosecution can’t prove you actually knew the item was stolen, that could knock the whole case out.

Some other ways a lawyer might be able to fight the charges:

  • File motions to suppress evidence due to illegal search/seizure
  • Negotiate a favorable plea deal with lesser penalties
  • Argue you had no intent to permanently deprive the owner
  • Challenge credibility of witnesses/evidence

So don’t lose hope! With an experienced legal team on your side, there are ways to avoid a conviction or at least reduce the consequences. The key is finding the right defense strategy for your unique situation.

What Should I Do if Charged with Receiving Stolen Property?

If you’ve been arrested for receiving stolen property in New Jersey, here are some important steps to take right away:

  1. Remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately.
  2. Don’t try to explain anything to the police without your lawyer present.
  3. Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
  4. Follow your lawyer’s advice about cooperating with the investigation.
  5. Consider hiring a private investigator to help build your defense.

The most critical move is getting a knowledgeable lawyer on your side quickly. Don’t go it alone against felony charges – the stakes are way too high.

A good lawyer will handle negotiations with the prosecution, build defenses to weaken the case, advise you on whether to take a plea bargain or go to trial, and make sure your rights are protected every step of the way. This gives you the best shot at avoiding harsh penalties.

What Defenses Can My Lawyer Use?

When facing receiving stolen property charges in NJ, there are several strong legal defenses your attorney may use to fight the allegations, including:

  • Lack of Knowledge – If there’s no solid proof you knew the property was stolen when you obtained it, this destroys the prosecution’s case.
  • Temporary Possession – If you only briefly possessed the item with intent to return it, you may not be criminally liable.
  • Entrapment – If police coerced you into acquiring the stolen goods, your lawyer can argue entrapment.
  • Invalid Search – If police violated your rights by illegally searching your home/car, evidence may be suppressed.

An experienced attorney will look at every angle of your case to figure out the best defense strategy. Don’t let anyone bully you into pleading guilty before exploring all your options.

What Are the “Receiving Stolen Property” Laws in NJ?

OK, let’s take a quick look at the specific receiving stolen property laws on the books in New Jersey:

  • N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7(a) – Makes it illegal to “knowingly receive” stolen property, as we discussed earlier.
  • N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7(b) – Presumes you know property is stolen if:
    • You have 2+ stolen items from separate incidents
    • You’ve received stolen goods before
    • You bought the item without verifying the seller had legal rights to it
    • You possess 2+ altered/defaced access devices (like fake credit cards)
  • N.J.S.A. 2C:20-2(b) – Classifies receiving stolen property penalties based on the item’s value:
    • 1st degree crime if over $500,000
    • 2nd degree if $75,000-$500,000
    • 3rd degree if $500-$75,000
    • 4th degree if $200-$500
    • Disorderly persons offense if under $500

There are some other nuances, but those are some of the key laws that define receiving stolen property charges in New Jersey. Having a solid grasp of the statutes helps your lawyer build the best defense.

What Are Some Possible Defenses in My Case?

The facts surrounding your receiving stolen property charges will determine what defenses your attorney might use. But some common defenses in NJ cases include:

  • No Knowledge Item Was Stolen – If there’s no evidence you knew the item was stolen at the time, this can defeat the charges.
  • Lack of Criminal Intent – If circumstances show you didn’t intend to permanently deprive the owner, you may not be criminally liable.
  • Entrapment – If police coerced or manipulated you into acquiring the item, your lawyer can argue entrapment.
  • Invalid Search & Seizure – If police violated your rights by illegally searching your home or car, evidence may be suppressed.
  • Misidentification – Eyewitnesses sometimes misidentify suspects. Your attorney can challenge questionable IDs.

An experienced lawyer will look at every aspect of your case to figure out the best defense strategy. Don’t let anyone pressure you into pleading guilty before exploring your options.

Should I Take a Plea Deal or Go to Trial?

If prosecutors offer a plea bargain, you’ll need to think carefully about whether to accept it or take your case to trial. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Strength of Evidence – If solid proof of your guilt exists, a plea deal may be wise to limit penalties.
  • Potential Sentence – Weigh the plea offer against estimated sentences if convicted at trial.
  • Cost of Trial – Trials are expensive and you may need to pay some fees even with a public defender.
  • Risk of Conviction – Trials have unpredictable outcomes, so a plea may be safer if acquittal seems unlikely.
  • Impact of Conviction – Consider how a felony conviction could impact your life and future goals.

Your lawyer will advise if it’s better to take the deal or head to trial. Make sure you understand all options and outcomes before deciding. Don’t rush into anything.

What Should I Do to Help My Lawyer Build My Defense?

Don’t just sit back and expect your lawyer to handle everything. You play a key role in building the best defense in your receiving stolen property case. Here are some important ways to help:

  • Be honest and upfront with your lawyer about what happened.
  • Give your attorney names of any witnesses who could help exonerate you.
  • Gather any documents, records or evidence that could aid your case.
  • Write down a detailed timeline of events related to your charges.
  • Attend every meeting and court date; take an active role in your defense!

The more you do to assist your lawyer, the better your chances of getting charges reduced or dismissed. Don’t wait for your attorney to track down every lead – be proactive and speak up if you have any useful information

Here are some additional ways you can help build your defense against receiving stolen property charges:

  • Provide alibis confirming you were elsewhere at the time of the alleged crime.
  • Identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case that your lawyer can highlight.
  • Gather character references who can testify to your honesty and law-abiding nature.
  • Help locate surveillance footage or other evidence that proves your innocence.
  • Testify truthfully at hearings, depositions, and trial if your lawyer advises it.

The American Bar Association’s standards for prosecutors state that prosecutors should exercise discretion when filing and dismissing charges based on factors like the strength of the evidence[1]. So if you actively participate in building a solid defense, the prosecution may be more willing to reduce or drop the charges.

Your lawyer can also get charges reduced or dismissed by identifying procedural errors or lack of evidence. As one law firm notes, lawyers know how to find mistakes on tickets and prove your innocence in ways an average person may not notice[2].

In addition to helping build your legal defense, you should also:

  • Follow all instructions from your pretrial services officer if out on bail.
  • Attend required meetings and classes as directed by the court.
  • Comply with any court orders, such as staying sober or avoiding contact with co-defendants.
  • Avoid acquiring any new charges while your case is pending.

Showing you’re making an effort to get your life on track can help convince prosecutors to offer a better deal. Just remember – don’t try to handle your case alone. Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer is critical.

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