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Obtaining Control Over Any Stolen Thing of Value 18-4-404 and Theft By Receiving Stolen Property – If you obtain control over a a stolen thing of value – even if you did not steal the item yourself – you can be convicted of the crime of Receiving Stolen Property.
Every person who obtains control over any stolen thing of value, knowing the thing of value to have been stolen by another, may be tried, convicted, and punished whether or not the principal is charged, tried, or convicted.
If you are charged under Colorado’s Theft By Receiving Law – now “re-packaged with 18-4-401 – a DA – prosecutor must prove three elements of the crime against you – and these elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
First – That the property in question was in fact – stolen,
Second – That you actually “received” and possessed the stolen property,
Finally – That having possessed or received the stolen property- you KNEW that the property was actually stolen.
The DA must establish that the property is stolen. He or she must prove that it was stolen by proving it was stolen in a theft- a burglary – a robbery, or a form of embezzlement.
This is not as easy as it may seem – if the person who committed any these crimes – making the item or items “stolen” is never caught – it becomes even harder.
However – under this law – § 18-4-404 – if you knowingly and subsequently receive that stolen property, even if at the time you received the property you did not KNOW it was stolen – later becoming aware of its stolen “quality” you cannot maintain control over it. You must either contact the authorities within a reasonable period of time or contact the owner – if possible – to return the stolen property.
Like all other possession related crimes ( such as drug possession cases) “receiving” property seems to imply that only actual physical possession of the property is necessary to prove the crime. This is not true - possession can also be “constructive possession.” If you have control or share possession of stolen property – but not actual possession of it – you will also come under the ambit of this law.
This happens most often -(as in drug possession cases) – when multiple individuals jointly possess – share – or have some form of joint control over stolen property. Possession of something stolen can be shared – need not be exclusive and possession can be “joint” possession.
How can a DA climb into my mind and prove I knew something was stolen. The most obvious way is out of your own mouth. Do NOT answer what may see to be harmless questions. Self incrimination is probably the most common way of proving knowledge that something is stolen
Next would be the “circumstances” surrounding the possession of the items – an eyewitness – a video – serial numbers and the like.
Other kinds of “circumstantial” evidence of proof of knowledge- evidence include:
1. You were actively involved in concealing the stolen property.
2. The price paid for the property was so low it was patently absurd.
3. The transaction was “cash only” – no receipt was ever possible.
4. All identifying information such as serial numbers were intentionally and obviously removed.
The “rule” here is this – if a “reasonable” person would have asked questions about the transfer of the property – then the absence of such inquiries is probably evidence of knowledge that the property was stolen or “hot.”
Certain professions and retailers are targeted in this area.
Law enforcement targets the following sellers:
Here is the law:
If any person commits theft by receiving as defined in section 18-4-410 (1) when OBTAINS CONTROL OVER STOLEN PROPERTY KNOWING OR BELIEVING THE PROPERTY TO HAVE BEEN STOLEN, and such offense involves two or more separate stolen things of value each of which is the property of a separate owner, such commission of theft by receiving constitutes prima facie evidence that the person is engaged in the business of buying, selling, or otherwise disposing of stolen goods for a profit.
Typical defenses used by Colorado criminal defense lawyers in these cases are:
Mistake of fact / claim of right – You actually owned the property for a fair price – or you were fooled into believing it was your lawful property by a con-artist. You were the victim.
Lack of knowledge – You did not know you possessed the stolen property
Innocent intent – you intended to return the property and were arrested before that could happen
The Penalties and Sentencing for A Conviction for Receiving Stolen Property ….. turn on the value of the items taken
The crime is a:
(b) A class 1 petty offense if the value of the thing involved is less than fifty dollars;
(c) A class 3 misdemeanor if the value of the thing involved is fifty dollars or more but less than three hundred dollars;
(d) A class 2 misdemeanor if the value of the thing involved is three hundred dollars or more but less than seven hundred fifty dollars;
(e) A class 1 misdemeanor if the value of the thing involved is seven hundred fifty dollars or more but less than two thousand dollars;
(f) A class 6 felony if the value of the thing involved is two thousand dollars or more but less than five thousand dollars;
(g) A class 5 felony if the value of the thing involved is five thousand dollars or more but less than twenty thousand dollars;
(h) A class 4 felony if the value of the thing involved is twenty thousand dollars or more but less than one hundred thousand dollars;
(i) A class 3 felony if the value of the thing involved is one hundred thousand dollars or more but less than one million dollars;
(j) A class 2 felony if the value of the thing involved is one million dollars or more.
Here is a Colorado Sentencing CHART to help you interpret the criminal levels referred to above:
[HMS - This next law allows an innocent victim to claim a legal right to stolen property with a minimum of legal impediments and red tape.. The law is self explanatory:]
All property obtained by theft, robbery, or burglary shall be restored to the owner, and no sale, whether in good faith on the part of the purchaser or not, shall divest the owner of his right to such property. The owner may maintain an action not only against the taker thereof but also against any person in whose possession he finds the property.
In any such action, the owner may recover two hundred dollars or three times the amount of the actual damages sustained by him, whichever is greater, and may also recover costs of the action and reasonable attorney fees; but monetary damages and attorney fees shall not be recoverable from a good-faith purchaser or good-faith holder of the property.
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