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Potential defenses for receiving stolen property

On Behalf of | Dec 21, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Someone may sell or lend you stolen property. If authorities find you in possession of such a property, you may be in trouble. Receiving stolen property is an offense in New Hampshire, as stated in Title LXII Criminal Code Section 637:7.

However, you can defend yourself using different strategies to avoid facing or reducing the punishment. They include:

Being unaware of the theft

You commit a crime when you know or believe that a property has been stolen, yet you still received, retained or disposed of it. Thus, if you can prove that you weren’t aware of the theft, you may not be charged. 

If you obtained the item online, find the advertisement and the website in question. If you got the property physically, you should know the location and have information about the seller or lender.

Being under duress

If you were forced or threatened into holding onto the stolen property for someone else, you may state that you acted under duress. Without the threat, you wouldn’t have acted contrary to your interests — and that’s a valid defense.

You had innocent intent

In some circumstances, people purchase stolen property with an innocent intention, such as returning it to the owner or giving it to law enforcement. If you notice a stolen property is on sale and decide to buy it but are caught before giving it back, this may be your best defense. 

In New Hampshire, it’s important to note that you’re presumed to know that the property was stolen if you’ve been caught with stolen property either once within the previous year or on two or more occasions. 

Receiving stolen property is considered a theft crime in some situations. If you are charged with such a crime, learn more about your case to determine the best defense.    

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