Being caught in possession of stolen property in Muskogee, Oklahoma can mean serious consequences, depending on the circumstances and the value of the property involved. If you or a loved one are accused of this crime, speak to a Muskogee attorney right away. Here are some things you need to know.
Being In Possession Of Stolen Property In Muskogee Defined
In Oklahoma, being in possession of stolen property is the same as receiving stolen property. Receiving a piece of stolen property means taking possession of it.
The law defines the crime as either buying or receiving personal property, regardless of value, which has been stolen, embezzled, or obtained by robbery or deceit, knowing or having reasonable cause to know that it has been stolen, or concealing such property from the owner. This is a type of larceny or theft of property. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1713
Thus, it is illegal to buy or take possession of property that a person knows or reasonably should know has been stolen and it is illegal to conceal that property from the rightful owner. The law has two prongs upon which a charge may be brought.
That statute uses a reasonable person standard to determine whether a person should know if they are in possession of stolen property.
The Reasonable Person Standard
The reasonable person standard is based on what a hypothetical reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances would do or how that person would respond. The following example might help to understand this concept.
A guy on the street corner motions to you as you pass by and whispers that he has clean, unlocked iPhones for sale for $100. He shows you a number of them and you buy a new iPhone that would normally sell for $900. It seems like a great deal.
The standard asks whether a reasonable person in those circumstances would know or suspect that the phone was stolen. If so, you could face charges. A deal that seems to be too good to be true probably is.
In essence, even though you may not know that the phone was stolen, if a reasonable person would suspect that it was or would have been put on notice to at least inquire, the law will impute that knowledge to you.
The law states that if you buy, receive, conceal, or withhold stolen property or aid another person in doing so, and fail to make a reasonable inquiry regarding that person’s legal right to sell or deliver that property to you, in circumstances in which a reasonable person would make such an inquiry, you will be presumed to have obtained the property knowing that it was stolen. This presumption is rebuttable by proof.
This presumption can be a powerful tool for the prosecution. It shifts the burden of proof from the prosecution which normally has the initial burden of proof, to the defendant to prove they had no knowledge that the property was stolen. It is a distinct disadvantage to the defense.
Penalties For Possession Of Stolen Property In Muskogee
If the property is worth $1,000 or more, the crime is a felony. It is punishable by up to five years in prison or up to a year in the county jail. A judge may assess a fine of up to $500 in addition to or in lieu of incarceration.
The crime is a misdemeanor in Muskogee if the property is worth less than $1,000. In that case, the crime is punishable by up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $500, or both.
If you are facing charges of being in possession of stolen property, get the help you need today.
Free Consultation: Muskogee Felony Defense Attorney
If you are facing criminal charges of any kind, you need help to build a solid defense. Even small facts can make a big difference. Don’t try to go it alone. Get the help you need when it matters most.
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