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Theft by receiving: Do you have to do the taking to be charged?

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2020 | Theft and Economic Crimes |

Colorado readers of our blogs at the established Denver criminal defense firm of Shazam Kianpour & Associates likely see the following types of scenarios routinely play out on television crime dramas.

The guy with a suitcase full of Rolex watches, for example, who is willing to sell his products for a pittance of what they would command in a jewelry store. Or the guy ready to accept a few hundred bucks for a brand new state-of-the-art sound system that is easily worth thousands.

Something just sounds alarm bells for a reasonable person having the opportunity to make a purchase at such compellingly low prices, right?

At least that is the argument that is routinely and forcefully made by Colorado prosecutors in so-called “theft by receiving” cases.

The charging standard in CO theft by receiving cases

Many people believe that a theft charge in Colorado can attach only to an individual who actually steals the property of another party.

That might sound logical, but it is actually an incorrect view. An overview of Colorado criminal law stresses that theft charges can “also apply to those who didn’t actually do the taking.”

That means this: If you happen to be the person who buys the above-cited stereo system for a fraction of its true value while knowing you were getting an insanely good deal, you could be in for trouble. A prosecutor might argue that you knew or should have reasonably known that the merchandise was stolen.

The bottom line: You could be charged with theft by receiving, even without having played any part in the property being stolen.

What are the consequences of a theft by receiving charge?

Potentially, the fallout from a theft by receiving conviction can be severe. A felony charge can yield significant time behind bars and an assortment of linked exactions. A resulting permanent criminal record cam ruin a reputation and mar future opportunities.

That outcome is unquestionably adverse, but it is far from preordained in a given case. A proven defense legal team with a demonstrated record of advocacy in theft cases can often do much to materially mitigate damages and promote optimal client outcomes.

We welcome contacts to the firm from persons having questions or concerns regarding a Colorado theft by receiving charge or any other criminal law matter.