Are you facing a charge of receiving stolen property? Under Ohio law, you do not have to be the person who stole property to be charged with theft.
In Ohio, receiving stolen property or RSP is considered a serious theft charge and comes with serious penalties. You are facing not only hefty penalties but also a loss of your freedom. A conviction can also damage your credibility and have lasting effects on your ability to get a job and rent a home.
At Suhre & Associates, LLC, our team of criminal defense lawyers has more than 100 combined years of experience defending clients against theft charges. A Cincinnati receiving stolen property defense lawyer can help you begin building your case and fighting for your freedom. Contact our law office today to schedule a free case consultation to explore your legal options.
How a Cincinnati Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help with a Receiving Stolen Property Charge
Theft crimes are taken very seriously in Ohio. If convicted of receiving stolen property, you risk losing your freedom, civil rights, and financial security. The conviction will also follow you when you apply for a job, an education, or a rental property as theft is considered a crime of “moral turpitude” and damages your reputation.
While you may feel overwhelmed and frightened about the consequences of being convicted of receiving stolen property, you are not alone. An experienced criminal defense attorney in Cincinnati can help you build your defense and fight for your rights and freedom.
Suhre & Associates, LLC has a combined 100 years of experience in criminal defense with team members that includes a former police officer and former prosecutors. We have insight into the tactics the police and prosecution will use as they prosecute you. We use this insight to build the best defense possible.
Our principal lawyer Joe Suhre had 5 years of experience as a police officer and has spent almost two decades defending clients as a criminal defense lawyer. He has been recognized by numerous organizations as a Super Lawyer and he has a 10.0 Superb AVVO Rating. His reputation has been built on a record of achieving excellent results for his clients.
We will help you build a defense and seek to have your charges and penalties reduced or dropped completely. Contact Suhre & Associates, LLC today to schedule your free case review.
What Is Receiving Stolen Property in Ohio?
Under Ohio Revised Code 2913.51, receiving stolen property is retaining, disposing of, or receiving property that you know or have reasonable cause to believe was obtained through theft.
Receiving stolen property may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the value of the stolen property. This makes it a “wobbler” offense. A simple charge of receiving stolen property is a first-degree misdemeanor. It can be upgraded to a felony in the following circumstances.
Fifth-Degree Felony Receiving Stolen Property
It’s a fifth-degree felony to receive the following stolen items:
- Blank check
- Credit card
- License plate
- Blank motor vehicle registration form
- Blank driver’s license
- Bulk merchandise container or “special purchase article”
- Property valued at $1,000 to $7,500
In 2013, a law was passed to add special penalties to receiving a stolen bulk merchandise container or special purchase article. A special purchase article is defined under O.R.C. 4737.04 as including:
- Manhole covers
- Street light fixtures or poles
- Highway or street signs
- Road, highway, or bridge guardrails
- Beer kegs
- Cable, electrical components, and wire
- Grocery carts
- Metal commemorative, historical, or memorial markers or plaques
- Railroad ties and railroad material
This law typically applies to scrap metal dealers and merchandise container dealers.
Under O.R.C. 4737.012, a bulk merchandise container is a wooden or plastic carrier or holder used to transport merchandise to a retail or wholesale outlet by a distributor or manufacturer.
Fourth-Degree Felony Receiving Stolen Property
The charge is enhanced to a fourth-degree felony if the property is any of the following:
- Motor vehicle
- Dangerous drug
- Dangerous ordinance such as explosives
- Property valued at $7,500 to $150,000
Note that a fourth-degree felony can be charged in the case of a stolen firearm or motor vehicle regardless of the item’s value.
Third-Degree Felony Receiving Stolen Property
Under Ohio law, it’s a third-degree felony to receive stolen property valued at $150,000 or more. This is the highest degree of felony for receiving stolen property.
What Are the Punishments for Receiving Stolen Property in Cincinnati?
When receiving stolen property is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor, it carries a punishment of up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted. This is a probationable offense.
While a misdemeanor conviction will not cause you to lose civil rights, it can still be considered by schools, landlords, and employers in the future.
The penalties for receiving stolen property are much more serious when charged as a felony.
- A fifth-degree felony has a penalty of 6 to 12 months in prison and fines up to $2,500.
- A fourth-degree felony has a penalty of 6 to 18 months in prison and fines up to $5,000.
- A third-degree felony has a penalty of 1 to 5 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
In lieu of prison time for a felony charge of receiving stolen property in Cincinnati, you may be placed on probation for up to 5 years.
In all cases, you may also be ordered to pay restitution if you are convicted.
How Can I Defend Myself Against a Receiving Stolen Property Charge?
O.R.C. 2913.51 specifically states that it is not a defense that you did not commission the theft if you accepted stolen property that was represented to you as stolen. Getting rid of stolen property is also not a defense to the charge. You can be charged with this crime even if you did not have actual knowledge that the item was stolen but the prosecution believes you had reason to know.
When building a defense against receiving stolen property, it’s important to understand the elements that the prosecution must prove:
- You received property that was stolen or taken without the owner’s knowledge or permission
- You knew or had reason to know the property was stolen
- You had the intent to deprive the owner of the property
Building a defense against the charge you are facing requires disproving any of these elements or creating reasonable doubt.
The single best defense for receiving stolen property in Cincinnati is that you did not know and had no reason to believe the property was stolen. It isn’t enough to show that you paid for the property if there were circumstances that indicated it may be stolen.
The prosecution may show that you had good reason to know the item was stolen if you knew the person selling it had a history of theft or the item was sold for well below market value. Even in these cases, the prosecution has the burden of proof. If you asked the seller why the item was priced so low or where he or she obtained the item and the explanation was plausible, you may have a defense.
If you bought an item from someone through an online marketplace and paid close to fair market value, you would likely have no reason to know the item was stolen.
You may also have a defense if you knew or found out the item was stolen but had the intention to take it to police or return it to the owner. In this case, timing is crucial. The longer you hold onto the item before taking either of these actions, the weaker this defense becomes.
You may also build a defense around possession of the stolen property. The prosecution must show not only that you knew or should have known the property was stolen but also that you knew it was on your person or in your home or car.
If stolen property was found in your car or your home, you may have a defense if you had no knowledge of the item and did not actually receive, buy, or dispose of it. For instance, someone in your household may have received the item or committed theft and it was never actually in your possession nor did you have knowledge of the property.
Contact a Cincinnati Receiving Stolen Property Defense Lawyer
Ohio law takes the crime of receiving stolen property very seriously. When you are facing a theft charge in Cincinnati, your freedom and good name are on the line. It’s crucial to consult with a Cincinnati theft defense lawyer as soon as possible to protect your legal rights and begin building a defense.
Suhre & Associates, LLC represents clients facing receiving stolen property and other theft charges in Cincinnati. We have more than 100 years of combined experience in prosecution, law enforcement, and criminal defense to put to work for you. Call our law office today to schedule a free case review with a receiving stolen property defense lawyer in Cincinnati.