A person accused of receiving stolen property in Texas faces potentially
serious consequences if they are convicted. An aggressive defense to the
charge, however, can result in a dismissal or acquittal in many cases.
In Texas, receiving stolen property is no longer a separate charge but
is considered a form of theft and included within the general theft statute.
In order to prove theft by receiving stolen property, the state must prove
the defendant took possession of the property with knowledge that it was stolen.
Defenses are available to those charged with
receiving stolen property. The main issue in most cases is that of knowledge. If the state fails
to prove the defendant knew the property in question was stolen, the court
should dismiss the charge. Simply claiming lack of knowledge will not
be enough in most cases. Defense counsel will have to show that under
the circumstances a reasonable person would not have known the property
was stolen. If the defendant obtained the item under circumstances that
would not make a reasonable person suspicious, or if the item has changed
hands numerous times after it was stolen, the defendant will have a better
chance of getting the charges dropped.
Pawnshop operators and people engaged in the business of salvaging abandoned
or wrecked vehicles must be especially careful; they are presumed to have
knowledge an item or vehicle was stolen if they do not obtain proper documentation
as to its ownership or title or if they fail to comply with state regulations
regarding their business.
Source: Texas State Legislature, "Tex. Penal Code Â§Â§ 31.02-.03," accessed on March 21, 2015