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Can I Be Charged with Theft for Buying Stolen Property?

 Posted on May 31, 2023 in Criminal Defense

Joliet Theft LawyerIn today's modern world, there are more opportunities than ever to buy and sell items directly from other individuals. Many people purchase items on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, eBay, or even at garage sales and flea markets.

But what happens if you buy something that turns out to be stolen? In Illinois, buying or receiving stolen property can lead to criminal charges for receipt of stolen property. Many people are shocked to learn that they can face charges for theft even if they are not the person who actually stole the item.

If you are facing criminal charges for theft or possession of stolen property, it is crucial that you work with a criminal defense lawyer experienced in these types of cases.

What Counts as Receipt of Stolen Property?

The Illinois Criminal Code defines the elements needed to convict an individual of theft. Many different types of circumstances can lead to theft charges, and most involve taking another person's property by force or threat. However, Illinois law also makes it illegal to take control of stolen property If the person who possesses the stolen property knew it was stolen or “or under such circumstances as would reasonably induce him or her to believe that the property was stolen.”

The language of the law regarding the receipt of stolen property can be confusing and leaves significant room for interpretation. How can you prove that somebody knew an item was stolen? What circumstances would “reasonably induce” a person to believe property was stolen? These are crucial questions during an Illinois theft case because the prosecution must prove each element of the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The prosecution may argue that you should have known the property was stolen if it was sold at a significantly reduced value. For example, if a brand-new Louis Vuitton purse that usually retails for $3,000 was sold to you for less than $100, the prosecution could claim that any reasonable person would realize that the purse was stolen. Similarly, the prosecution may claim that an individual should have known a car was stolen if they bought the car without getting the title. A criminal defense attorney’s job is to poke holes in the prosecution’s case and fight for your innocence.

Contact a Will County Theft Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges for receipt of stolen property, it is essential that you work with a criminal defense lawyer who can develop a strong defense against the charges and advocate on your behalf. Contact the skilled Joliet criminal defense attorneys at McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC to get started. Call 815-727-0100 and set up a free, private consultation.




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