Criminal charges for receiving stolen property in New Jersey are governed by N.J.S. 2C:20-7 which provides in pertinent part:
a. Receiving. A person is guilty of theft if he knowingly receives or brings into this State movable property of another knowing that it has been stolen, or believing that it is probably stolen. It is an affirmative defense that the property was received with purpose to restore it to the owner. “Receiving” means acquiring possession, control or title, or lending on the security of the property.
b. Presumption of knowledge. The requisite knowledge or belief is presumed in the case of a person who:
(1) Is found in possession or control of two or more items of property stolen on two or more separate occasions; or
(2) Has received stolen property in another transaction within the year preceding the transaction charged; or
(3) Being a person in the business of buying or selling property of the sort received, acquires the property without having ascertained by reasonable inquiry that the person from whom he obtained it had a legal right to possess and dispose of it; or
(4) Is found in possession of two or more defaced access devices.
Grading of Receiving Stolen Property Offenses
The grading of a receiving stolen property charge in New Jersey depends on the value of the goods that were allegedly received. This is governed by N.J.S. 2C:20-11 and provides the following:
- Second Degree: Value of goods $75,000.00 or more
- Third Degree: Value of goods between $500.00 and $75,000.00
- Fourth Degree: Value of goods between $200.00 and $500.00
- Disorderly Persons Offense: Value of goods less than $200.00
Second degree, third degree, and fourth degree offenses are indictable criminal offenses and will be handled at the Superior Court in the county in which the alleged crime occurred. For example, a third degree receiving stolen property charge out of Boonton Township will be handled at the Morris County Superior Court located in Morristown, New Jersey. On the other hand, a disorderly persons offense will be handled in the local municipal court in the municipality in which the crime allegedly occurred. A second degree offense has a presumption of incarceration, even if the defendant has no prior criminal record.
Our criminal trial team is experienced and equipped to combat these criminal charges for you. These are many elements to a receiving stolen property charge, one of which is knowledge which is a difficult element for the State to prove. The State must establish the “mens rea” or criminal state of mind to show that the defendant not only possessed the stolen property but also that the defendant had knowledge that the property was stolen and intended to possess said stolen property. Our criminal defense lawyers will examine all avenues in attempting to resolve your case including having the case remanded from Superior Court to Municipal Court (if the value of the stolen goods is not too high). Once your case is in Municipal Court it is possible to reach a resolution which avoids a criminal charge on your record. We will also consider all diversionary programs including Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) depending on the degree of your charge and any prior criminal history.