Receiving Stolen Property
Possession of stolen property may be classified as a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending on the value of the alleged stolen property. Many people may face these charges despite a complete lack of criminal intent, and it is the responsibility of prosecutors to demonstrate that these alleged offenders and deliberately acquired property they knew was stolen.
Theft is commonly thought of as applying only to the actual taking of another party’s property. Iowa Code § 714.1 (4), however, specifically defines theft as including a person who “[e]xercises control over stolen property, knowing such property to have been stolen, or having reasonable cause to believe that such property has been stolen, unless the person's purpose is to promptly restore it to the owner or to deliver it to an appropriate public officer.”
Des Moines Receiving Stolen Property Lawyer
If you bought or were in possession of property that you did not know was stolen, it is critical that you immediately contact a skilled criminal defense attorney. McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. represents clients all over Iowa, including Dallas County, Guthrie County, Madison County, Polk County, and Warren County.
Our firm aggressively defends clients throughout the greater Des Moines and West Des Moines areas against criminal charges. McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. represents clients in all property related criminal matters, including theft, burglary, receiving stolen property, robbery, and arson.
We can review your case and discuss your legal options when you call (515) 279-9700 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Polk County Receiving Stolen Property Overview
- How are the charges determined for this offense?
- What are the possible penalties if convicted?
- Are there any defenses against these allegations?
Under Iowa law, the severity of the offense for possession of stolen property is based on the value of the property that was allegedly stolen. The levels of charges for this crime in the Hawkeye State are as follows:
- Property not exceeding $200 in value — Theft in the fifth degree, simple misdemeanor.
- Property exceeding $200 in value but not exceeding $500 in value — Theft in the fourth degree, serious misdemeanor.
- Property exceeding $500 in value but not exceeding $1,000 in value, or theft of any property not exceeding $500 in value by a person with two previous theft convictions — Theft in the third degree, aggravated misdemeanor.
- Property exceeding $1,000 in value but not exceeding $10,000 in value, or theft of theft of an applicable motor vehicle not exceeding $10,000 in value — Theft in the second degree, class “D” felony.
- Property exceeding $10,000 in value — Theft in the first degree, class “C” felony
Just as the degree of theft is dependent upon the value of the allegedly stolen property, the severity of the possible punishments also depend on which level of offense you have been charged with. The consequences of a conviction for possession of stolen property are as follows:
- Simple Misdemeanor — Under Iowa Code § 903.1(1)(a), minimum fine $65 up to $675 and/or maximum 30 days imprisonment.
- Serious Misdemeanor — Under Iowa Code § 903.1(1)(b), minimum fine $315 up to $1,875 and/or maximum one year imprisonment.
- Aggravated Misdemeanor — Under Iowa Code § 903.1(2), minimum fine $675 up to $6,250 and maximum two years imprisonment.
- Class “D” Felony — Under Iowa Code § 902.9, minimum fine $750 up to $7,500 and maximum five years imprisonment.
- Class “C” Felony — Under Iowa Code § 902.9, minimum fine $1,000 up to $10,000 and maximum 10 years imprisonment.
It is important to remember that a prosecutor has a substantial burden to overcome in proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in cases involving possession of stolen property. Some of the possible defenses that can help you overcome these types of charges include, but are not limited to:
- Claim of right — It is entirely possible that you either had a legitimate ownership claim in regards to the property or you were under the impression that the actual owner had consented to your possession of it.
- Constitutional rights violations — Any errors or illegal actions by police officers or law enforcement (such as illegal search and seizure) can result in the evidence against you being suppressed and your case being thrown out.
- Lack of intent — Perhaps you had the full intention of returning the property to its owner or turning it over to authorities, but you were charged before you had the opportunity.
- Lack of knowledge —An extremely common defense to this charge is that you were unaware that the property you thought you legally purchased was stolen. Unless you bought the property from the back of a van in an unlit alley, it can be very difficult to prove that an alleged offender was knowingly seeking stolen property.
- Misidentification — This defense may apply if you were mistaken for another person, the property was confused with a different stolen item, or the charges you are facing are the result of flawed evidence.
- Unknowing possession — Stolen property can sometimes be discovered in a person’s home or automobile, but that does not mean that the owner of the home or vehicle necessarily placed it there.
Receiving Stolen Property Lawyer in West Des Moines
You will want to make sure that you are represented by an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are facing charges of possessing stolen property in Iowa. McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. helps clients facing criminal charges in the greater Des Moines and West Des Moines areas, including such communities as Altoona, Ankeny, Johnston, and Urbandale.
Our firm has over four decades of combined experience defending Iowans against all types of criminal charges. Call (515) 279-9700 today to take advantage of a free legal consultation that will let us provide a thorough evaluation of your case.