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Receiving Stolen Property

Sometimes a police officer finds stolen property but cannot prove who originally stole it. To make prosecuting these cases easier, Ohio law also makes it a crime to receive stolen property when you know or have reasonable cause to know that the property is stolen. A showing that the property was recently stolen is one factor that can be used to make that determination.

But simply being in possession of stolen property is not enough to show that any crime was committed. A person might have many reasons for being in possession of stolen property. The item could have been purchased second hand at a pawn shop or a flea market. The person that actually stole it might not want anyone else to know where it came from. So the person that stole it might have hidden that fact from the next person who took possession of the property.

Cincinnati Attorney for Receiving Stolen Property in Ohio

If you were arresting for the offense of receiving stolen property in Cincinnati, Ohio, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Joslyn Law Firm. We represent clients throughout Cincinnati and the surrounding areas in Hamilton County. We are experienced in fighting a variety of property crimes and theft crimes in Ohio. Call today at (513) 399-6289 for a free consultation.

Receiving Stolen Property as an Alternative to Theft

In many of these cases, the prosecutor will charge the criminal offense of "Receiving Stolen Property" instead of "Theft." From the prosecutor's perspective, the penalties are similar for each offense. Under either statute if the property is valued at:

  • less than $1,000 then the offense is charged as a misdemeanor;
  • $1,000 to $7,500 then the offense is a felony of the fifth degree;
  • $7,501 to $150,000 then it is a felony of the fourth degree.

Certain types of property under either statute are charged as a felony in the fourth degree regardless of the actual value of the property. That specially designated property would include any prescription drug, credit card, gun, or motor vehicle.

Elements of Receiving Stolen Property under Ohio's R.C. 2913.51

The degree of some many theft charges under Ohio's Revised Code Chapter 2913 are determined by the identity or value of the property or services involved. The status of the victim might also change the degree. If the case goes to trial, the jury will be asked to specifically find the additional facts necessarily to determine the degree of the offense. See State v. Pelfrey, 112 Ohio St.3d 422, 2007-Ohio-25

The elements of the charge of receiving stolen property including proof that:

  1. the defendant (received) (retained) (disposed of) property; 
  2. the property belong to another person;
  3. the defendant did so (knowing) (having reasonable cause to believe) that the property had been obtained through the commission of a theft offense.

The standard jury instructions for receiving stolen property are found in CR 513.51 for offenses committed on and after July 1, 2013.  The instructions were lasted revised by the The Ohio Judicial Conference on January 11, 2014.

Defenses to Receiving Stolen Property in Ohio

In many of these cases that go to trial, the judge will instruct the jury that "it is not a defense to a charge of receiving stolen property that the property was obtained by means other than through the commission of a theft offense if the property was explicitly represented to the defendant as being obtained through the commission of a theft offense."

Additional Resources

Receiving Stolen Property: Possession is Not Enough - Visit the website of the Ohio Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, a member of the National Association of Police Organizations. This article explores why mere possession of stolen property, even recently stolen property, is not necessarily enough to prove the offense beyond all reasonable doubt. The article discusses the elements of the charge and explores other types of evidence that can be gathered to support the charge. The evidence to support the charge could include the suspect’s statements, the amount paid for the item, and other items found with the stolen property. The article provides a hypothetical situation and asked the patrol officer whether the person should be arrested for Receiving Stolen Property.

Finding an Attorney for Receiving Stolen Property in Ohio

If you were arrested for either a felony or a misdemeanor for "Receiving Stolen Property" under Ohio's Revised Code Section 2913.51 then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Joslyn Law Firm. We represent clients for a variety of theft crimes and property crimes in Hamilton County and throughout the greater Cincinnati area.

Ohio's Revised Code Section 2913.51 for receiving stolen property prohibits receiving, retaining, or disposing of property of another knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that the property has been obtained through commission of a theft offense. Call the attorneys at (513) 399-6289 to discuss your case today and important defense that might apply.

This article was last updated on Monday, November 23, 2015.