stolen property

Receiving Stolen Property Attorney in Hudson County

New Jersey has a separate charge for actually receiving or buying stolen property that you reasonably believe may be stolen. The state has implemented this law to help combat criminals from committing more serious offenses such as BurglaryCredit Card FraudTheft, and Robbery. This is because the alleged stolen property in question is normally from the proceeds of these criminal acts. The New Jersey state legislature has purposely used broad language to define the acts included in the receiving stolen property statute in order to cast a broad net over various actions. For obvious reasons, this can often lead to challenging situations when it comes to the actual knowledge and intent of the defendant. Moreover, this broad interpretation can often lead to people being wrongly charged and legal complications with the proofs can be prevalent. An experienced criminal attorney can help you navigate the court system and challenge and pinpoint weaknesses in the state’s case against you to resolve your charges as a downgrade, remand or even a dismissal altogether. At William Proetta Criminal Law we have successfully represented clients against thousands of different criminal charges throughout New Jersey including receiving stolen property. We represent clients for receiving stolen property in NewarkMontclairJersey CityNorth BergenBloomfieldSecaucusBayonne, and Hoboken. If you would like to discuss the details of your case in further detail, then contact us at (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation with an experienced criminal attorney or to schedule an appointment at our Jersey City office.


The law that prohibits anyone from receiving stolen property is set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7 of the New Jersey criminal code. We have listed the New Jersey statute for receiving stolen property in text below, in pertinent part, for your convenience.

§ 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.


The statute stipulates that a person is guilty of a theft crime for receiving stolen property if they receive or bring into New Jersey any movable property belonging to another person with the knowledge that the property has been stolen “or believing that it is probably stolen.” That last clause is important because it gives the prosecutor some leeway when attempting to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had knowledge that the property was stolen when he or she took possession of it. Without this leeway, it would probably be very difficult for the prosecution to ever prove what was going through the defendant’s mind when they received the property. After all, you might argue if you’ve been charged with receiving stolen property, how could you possibly have known that the property was, in fact, stolen? The answer to this question is provided in the criminal statute, which allows the court to presume that the defendant had knowledge when certain facts exist:

  • The defendant was found in possession of two or more items of stolen property on two or more separate occasions.
  • The defendant received stolen property in another transaction within one year of the new charge for receiving stolen property.
  • The defendant works in the business of buying or selling property of the kind that was stolen in this case.
  • The defendant was found in possession of two or more defaced access devices.
  • The defendant was found in possession of property from a cargo carrier without the proper documentation to indicate he or she had a right to possess the property.


As stated, in order to prove that a defendant is guilty of receiving stolen property the state must show that the defendant knowingly received or transported property of another and they knew or should have known that the property had been stolen. The state can infer that a reasonable person should have known the property was stolen by a multitude of factors such as the condition you received the property in, the price you purchased it for and the person you bought it from. Normally, the state will choose to prosecute cases which involve property worth several hundred dollars because the loss/damage to the victim has to be substantial and these charges can be difficult to prove. That is why it is common to see third degree receiving stolen property cases which involve more than $500 worth of stolen parts or merchandise. The good news is that the breadth of the law on receiving stolen property provides the best criminal defense lawyers with many opportunities to potentially beat these charges. By calling any of the supposed evidence into question based on lack of validity or challenging the entire case due to insufficient evidence, an attorney with experience defending clients charged with 2C:20-7 offenses can often get the charges downgraded or dismissed entirely.


If you’ve been charged with receiving stolen property, you are probably wondering what kind of charge it is. For example, “is receiving stolen property a felony?” is a very common question among people who find themselves in this situation. The answer is that receiving stolen property can be classified as either an indictable offense (a felony) or a disorderly persons offense (a misdemeanor), depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. This is a critically important distinction because not only will it affect the possible penalties you might face, but it could also mean the difference between a possible prison sentence and a lesser penalty that does not involve prison or jail time.

Below we have clearly listed the penalties and grading for different degrees of receiving stolen property. Similar to other crimes of theft, the guidelines for grading the seriousness of such crimes is found under the New Jersey statute 2C:20-11 and are as follows.

Disorderly Persons Offense – if the property is less than $200; punishable by up to 6 months in county jail.
4th Degree – if the property is valued at $200.00 – $500.00; punishable by up to 18 months in state prison.
3rd Degree – if the property is valued at between $500 and $75,000; punishable by up 3 – 5 years in prison.
2nd Degree – if the property is valued at more than $75,000; punishable by 5 – 10 years in prison with a   presumption of incarceration.


Our Hudson County criminal defense lawyers at William Proetta Criminal Law have extensive experience in handling receiving stolen property and theft cases and we are often able to work with the prosecution to effectuate a downgrade, remand, or even a dismissal altogether. Another option which we will normally pursue depending on the circumstances is securing our client’s admittance into a diversion program such as Pre-Trial Intervention. Successful completion of a diversion program will also allow you to have all your charges dismissed. We represent clients charged with the theft and receiving stolen property throughout New Jersey including HarrisonEast OrangeWeehawkenBellevilleIrvingtonWest New York, and Nutley. If you are interested in learning more about potential defenses to your charges, then contact our office at (201) 793-8018 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced criminal lawyer today. Remember our phones are answered 24/7 so do not hesitate to call today.