The crime of Receiving Stolen Property is a serious offense in Alabama that can result in heavy fines and jail time. Having said that, you should always hire an attorney to represent you in these cases. The statute reads as follows:
(a) A person commits the crime of receiving stolen property if he intentionally receives, retains or disposes of stolen property knowing that it has been stolen or having reasonable grounds to believe it has been stolen, unless the property is received, retained or disposed of with intent to restore it to the owner.
As you can see, the question with these types of cases is the Defendant’s knowledge or belief that the property is stolen. Quite frankly, I’m surprised these cases are not taken to trial more often. Receiving Stolen Property charges can be the result of an innocent transaction, such as buying goods at a flea market, or even buying a stereo from your neighbor. Purchasing goods online from sites such as Craigslist or even your local newspaper or pawn shop can turn out to be perilous as innocent as the transaction may be. In my opinion, it is not enough to charge someone with Receiving Stolen Property just because they happen to be in possession of the property. There must be some knowledge or a reasonable belief by the person in possession that the property is stolen. That can be a very subjective standard and a high threshold for the prosecutor to make. If you find yourself in a transaction that you feel is suspect, walk away or use due diligence and ask questions of the seller. They will always be happy to take your money and leave you holding the proverbial bag. If you are accused of Receiving Stolen Property in Alabama, contact and experienced attorney at The Nelson Law Firm at 205-994-3183 for a free case evaluation.