Receiving Stolen Property Charges Bergen County NJ
Bergen County Criminal Lawyers with offices in Hackensack, New Jersey
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The Bergen County NJ criminal defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm LLC were successful in getting another case dismissed for our clients, this time in the Hackensack Municipal Court located in Hackensack, New Jersey. Our client was facing two disorderly persons charges, one for receiving stolen property and one for possession of burglary tools. As a result, if convicted of these disorderly persons charges, our client was facing up to $2,000 in fines, up to a year in the Bergen County Jail, possible probation, and two permanent criminal charges on his record.
In New Jersey, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7 governs charges for receiving stolen property. The statute provides, in pertinent part:
§ 2C:20-7. Receiving Stolen Property
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.
How to Fight Receiving Stolen Property Charges in NJ
In this case, our client was stopped in his motor vehicle with property that the police believed to be stolen. The property was a number of similar items all with the tags still on them like they had been taken right off the rack. In addition, a bag was found with tin foil inside it, commonly referred to as a “booster bag” which is used to shoplift items and avoid the detection of the electronic security devices.
However, when the police called around to local stores to try and determine if and where the items were stolen from, they came up empty. As a result, they could not prove that our client was in possession of stolen property if they can’t establish that the property was actually stolen. In the absence of a victim who could establish that the property was taken from their store, the receiving stolen property charge could not stand. In addition, without the stolen property, a bag with tin foil in it, in and of itself does not prove any criminality and is not a burglary tool. Therefore, both charges were dismissed and the client walked away without any criminal convictions.
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There is a record of his arrest, because he was fingerprinted and processed. Now, he is eligible to file an expungement to have the arrest removed from his record right away. This was a great result for our client and the Tormey Law Firm LLC.