Although there is rarely anything close to an “easy thing” in the practice of New York criminal law, one group of crimes may defy this rule in terms of an Assistant District Attorney’s ability to prosecute and allege a particular offense. Criminal Possession of a Stolen Property, a set of crimes that range from “A” misdemeanors to “B” felonies, is this group of crimes. Often described by New York criminal lawyers as “sister crimes” to Petit Larceny and Grand Larceny, Criminal Possession of Stolen property may be easier to prove by the prosecution in certain circumstances, but is equal to or even more serious than many white collar crimes found in the New York Penal Law.
Before going into the specifics and definitions of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property and its various degrees, a basic way to look at this crime is as follows. In the context of a misdemeanor shoplifting arrest for stealing a sweater from Macy’s or a felony Embezzlement indictment for withdrawing $10,000 from a company account, the actual taking of the item from the store or the money from an account is either a Petit Larceny (NY PL 155.25) or Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (NY PL 155.35). Once that property or money is in your possession, the applicable crime would be Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree or Third Degree pursuant to NY PL 165.40 and NY PL 165.50 respectively. It is critically important to recognize that in any prosecution for a theft or larceny offense in New York, a charge or indictment for a Grand Larceny or Petit Larceny does not preclude a prosecution for Criminal Possession of Stolen Property. In fact, as you might have already learned the hard way, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property is rarely the sole count of a felony indictment or a misdemeanor complaint.
The foundation of any arrest, indictment or trial for the crime of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property the misdemeanor offense of New York Penal Law 165.40. This crime, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree, is committed if and when you (1) knowingly possess stolen property and (2) you either intend to impede the owner from retrieving that property or you intend to benefit yourself with the possession. Again, you need not have actually stolen the property, i.e., committed the larceny or theft. You would be guilty of this offense if you merely possessed the property after the fact with the intent as described above. This time frame could be seconds, weeks or months after the theft that was perpetrated by you or a third party. Compounding matters, your possession may be constructive as opposed to actual and physical.
From a procedural standpoint, an arrest or charge of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property can result in waiting up to twenty-four hours in jail to see a judge or in being served with a New York City Desk Appearance Ticket. If your arrest is for a misdemeanor charge of NY PL 165.40 or a shoplifting, for example, a Desk Appearance Ticket is a likely avenue to commence your prosecution. If you are alleged to have perpetrated a felony Embezzlement scheme in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, then not only will you be arrested and processed through the “Tombs,” but it is possible that you might be indicted by a Grand Jury even before the police ever slap cuffs on you (this is called an “NA” indictment). While each scenario would likely require the assistance of a criminal attorney, not consulting with an experienced New York criminal lawyer before bail is proposed, a Grand Jury is empaneled or motion practice commences, can compound your legal predicament terribly and, even worse, irreversibly.Determining Value for in New York Stolen Property Cases
At times, the value of property alleged to be stolen is fairly simple. If you steal cash, then the value of that cash is the value for New York Penal Law purposes. If you shoplift a dress from Bloomingdales that retailed for $500, then the value of that dress is obviously the market value at the time and place of the crime. There are circumstances, however, when the replacement value or other basis is used to determine this value. Equally important, if you possess stolen property that you obtained from the same individual through multiple thefts over weeks, months or more, the total value of these incidents can potentially be combined or aggregated into one count. The significance of such aggregation may be serious. If you committed an Embezzlement over ten months by withdrawing $950 from your employers business account, you would not be charged with ten separate counts of misdemeanor Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree (NY PL 165.40), but likely one count of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Third Degree (NY PL 165.50) for the possession of $9,500. In this example, the legal and practical difference would be that instead of multiple misdemeanor crimes, prosecutors could charge you with a felony where you would face up to seven years in prison. Clearly, the more money involved, the greater potential sentence you will face.Crimes Associated with Criminal Possession of Stolen Property
While criminal defense attorneys in New York routinely see Criminal Possession of Stolen Property charged alongside either Grand Larceny or Petit Larceny (Article 155 offenses), other crimes are often charged as well. Did you fraudulently fill out paperwork with a government office or private enterprise? Did you forge another person’s name or change transaction amounts? Depending on the allegations, these felony crimes can include:
Not an exhaustive list of other crimes or a complete analysis of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, a review of our website as well as CrottySaland.Com will provide you with ample information on white collar and theft crimes in New York. Further information, including analysis of criminal statutes and legal decisions, is available on the NewYorkTheftAndLarcenyLawyersBlog.Com and NewYorkCriminalLawyerBlog.Com.
Whether you are the target of or you have been arrested for any degree of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, do not compromise your precarious legal situation by waiting to identify and implement your strongest defense. Being ill prepared will certainly not stop an indictment. Educate yourself on the law. Examine the collateral consequences to your career or licensing. Review the potential sentences you may serve if convicted. Most importantly, however, contact the New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC so we can begin protecting your liberty today and your livelihood well beyond tomorrow.
Call the Manhattan & NY Stolen Property Lawyers at Crotty Saland PC at 212.312.7129 or Contact Us Online to Start Your Criminal Defense Now