Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in Crimes | 3 comments

Did you know that if you bought something that you believe it stolen, you can be held just as criminally liable as the one who stole the item? When an individual knowingly receives stolen property, this is considered theft under the laws of Texas. You don’t have to be the one to directly take the property from the owner to be liable under circumstances when you know or should have known that the property was stolen.

For example, if you are in the automobile buy-and-sell business and someone tries to sell you a car at a ridiculously low price but could not present you with a pink slip (certificate of title), claiming that it had been lost. At that point, you must have known or suspected that the car was stolen. The proper thing to do is to verify whether this is true or not by checking if the car has been reported stolen. Even if there are not alerts on the vehicle, you will still not be covered when the police comes calling because the owner may not have known that the car had been stolen. As a business owner who is aware of the importance of the pink slip, you should not buy the car at all because you won’t be able to sell it without the pink slip and you will have to report the purchase to the county tax assessor within 20 days. Failure to do so is an admission of guilt.

A key element in proving theft via receiving stolen goods is knowledge that the goods had been stolen or “hot.” In the above example, the knowledge is assumed considering the nature of the defendant’s business. In other circumstances, however, it may not be immediately apparent as an Austin criminal defense lawyer will point out.

If you are charged with receiving stolen goods, you need to prove that you had no knowledge that the item was stolen at the time of the purchase. This is not at all easy but it can be done with the right strategy. The item will still be confiscated (presuming ownership can be proven) and you will not get your money back, but at least you will avoid a conviction with the help of competent legal representation.

3 Comments

  1. 11-14-2014

    Law is always so puzzling to me, thanks for making sense of it.

  2. 11-25-2014

    Thanks!

  3. 12-2-2014

    I really love this style of blog, thanks for writing.

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