Pennsylvania Receiving Stolen Property
Defense Lawyers

PA Receiving Stolen Property Lawyers

Thank you for visiting Lampman Law. If you or someone you love is charged with Receiving Stolen Property (RSP) in Pennsylvania, we can help. We are experienced criminal defense lawyers that are in district and trial courts daily representing people charged with crimes throughout Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania. Since Lampman Law opened we have zealously defended people facing theft accusations and have helped our clients avoid the criminal consequences and social stigma of a theft conviction.

If you would like us to examine your case, please call Lampman Law at 570-371-3737 to personally discuss the matter with us. We offer a free phone or in-office consultation. All consultations are also welcoming, free of pressure, and confidential.  

18 Pa.C.S. § 3925. Receiving Stolen Property

A person is guilty of theft if he intentionally receives, retains, or disposes of movable property of another knowing that it has been stolen, or believing that it has probably been stolen, unless the property is received, retained, or disposed with intent to restore it to the owner.

The word “receiving” means acquiring possession, control or title, or lending on the security of the property.

Elements of Receiving Stolen Property in Pennsylvania

To prove the crime of receiving stolen property, the Commonwealth must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the item was stolen, the accused possessed the stolen item, and that the possessor knew, or had reason to know, that the item was stolen. Commonwealth v. Morrissey, 654 A.2d 1049 (Pa. 1995).

Thus, mere possession of stolen property is insufficient to sustain a conviction of this crime. See Commonwealth v. Matthews, 632 A.2d 570 (Pa. Super.1993). Likewise, mental states such as recklessness, negligence, or naïveté about stolen status of property are insufficient to support conviction for receiving stolen property, as this statute expressly defines the required mental state as “knowing” or “believing.” Commonwealth v. Newton, 994 A.2d 1127 (Pa. Super. 2010).

The element of defendant’s guilty knowledge that goods in his possession were stolen may be established by direct evidence of knowledge or by circumstantial evidence from which it can be inferred that defendant had reasonable cause to know that the property was stolen. Commonwealth v. Phillips, 392 A.2d 708 (Pa. Super. 1978).  

Circumstances that can establish the requisite knowledge on the part of the defendant in a prosecution for receiving stolen goods include:  a short time between the theft and defendant's possession,  the defendant's conduct at arrest and while in possession of the stolen property,  the type of property,  the location of the theft in comparison to the location where the defendant gained possession,  the value of the property compared to the price paid for it,  and the quantity of the stolen property. Commonwealth v. Marrero, 914 A.2d 870 (Pa. Super. 2006).

Grading & Penalties for Receiving Stolen Property

In Pennsylvania, Receiving Stolen Property can be graded as a Felony or a misdemeanor offense. The grading and specific range of penalty for Receiving Stolen Property is dependent on several factors, including the accused prior record score (PRS), and:

  • the item’s value or amount of money involved;

  • whether the item at issue is a firearm, anhydrous ammonia, or a vehicle;

  • whether the accused breached fiduciary duty; and/or,

  • whether threats were used to complete the crime.

 

Neither the grading nor the offense gravity score (OGS) are adjusted bases on whether the property taken was movable or immovable.

First Degree Felony Receiving Stolen Property (F1) 

A felony of the first degree is punishable by a maximum of 20 years imprisonment and a $25,000 fine. RSP is graded as a (F1) when:

  • The OGS is 8 when the amount involved is $500,000 or more; or
     

  • The OGS is 9 when the property received, retained or disposed of is a firearm and the receiver is in the business of buying or selling stolen property.

Second Degree Felony Receiving Stolen Property (F2) 

A felony of the second degree is punishable by a maximum of 10 years imprisonment and a $25,000 fine. The OGS of these cases is 7 if the (F2) is bases on value. Otherwise the OGS is 8. RSP is graded as a (F2) when:

  • The amount involved is $100,000 or more but less than $500,000.
     

  • The property stolen is a firearm.
     

  • The property stolen is anhydrous ammonia.
     

  • The offense is committed during a manmade disaster, a natural disaster or a war-caused disaster.

Third Degree Felony Receiving Stolen Property (F3) 

A felony of the third degree is punishable by a maximum of 7 years imprisonment and a $15,000 fine. RSP is graded as a (F3) when:

  • The amount involved exceeds $2,000. The OGS is 6 when the value is more than $25,000 but less than $100,000. The OGS is 5 when the value is more than $2,000 but $25,000 or less.

  • The property stolen is an automobile, airplane, motorcycle, motorboat or other motor-propelled vehicle. The OGS is 6.

Misdemeanor of the First-Degree Receiving Stolen Property (M1)

A misdemeanor of the first degree is punishable by a maximum of 5 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. The OGS is 3 for (M1) RSP cases. RSP is graded as a (M1) when:

  • The amount involved is $200 or more but less than $2,000; or,

  • The property was taken from the person or by threat, or in breach of fiduciary obligation.

Misdemeanor of the Second-Degree Receiving Stolen Property (M2)

A misdemeanor of the second degree is punishable by a maximum of 2 years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine. The OGS for these cases is 2. RSP is graded as a (M2) when:

  • The property was not taken from the person or by threat, or in breach of fiduciary obligation, and;

  • the amount involved was $50 or more but less than $200.

Misdemeanor of the Third-Degree Receiving Stolen Property (M3)

A misdemeanor of the third degree is punishable by a maximum of 1-year imprisonment and a $2,000 fine. Since the OGS for these offenses is 1, however, probation is the likely sentence unless the defendant has an elevated PRS. Receiving Stolen Property is graded as a (M3) when:

  • The property was not taken from the person or by threat, or in breach of fiduciary obligation, and;

  • the amount involved was less than $50.

Lampman Law Defends Receiving Stolen Property Cases

 

It is extremely important to timely hire an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense when facing theft by unlawful taking charges. As explained, Receiving Stolen Property cases are complex and the accused’s freedom and other important rights are at risk. Hiring the right criminal defense lawyer, as soon as possible, can help the accused build their case by gathering the evidence to build a robust defense. It is the best chance for an accused to preserve their liberty, legal rights, and their reputation.

When choosing a lawyer, it is important to seek the services of a lawyer that primarily practices criminal defense and that the lawyer has personally handled theft cases in the county where the charge is being prosecuted. Likewise, it is vital that the lawyer can and will conduct a full investigation into the facts and circumstances of the allegation. Obviously, challenges to the valuation of the items or funds allegedly stolen are extremely important in defending receiving stolen property prosecutions. 

​Please contact us at 570-371-3737 if you have any questions. Should you choose to trust us with your case, our fees are reasonable, we always use detailed written fee agreements, and payment plans (including credit card payment) can be arranged.

2 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

reception@lampmanlaw.com  |   570-371-3737

Lampman Law practices criminal defense and civil rights in the Counties of: Bradford, Carbon, Clinton, Columbia, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mifflin, Monroe, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Pike, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Union, Wayne, Wyoming. Lampman Law Office is located in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. The information on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Do not rely on it for accuracy or direction. You should consult an attorney for advice concerning your individual situation because every case is different. Further, contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Do not send confidential information to us until an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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