Possessing Stolen Property

What is Possessing Stolen Property?

According to RCW §9A.56.140, a person commits the crime of possessing stolen property when he:

  1. Knowingly receives, retains, possesses, conceals, or disposes of stolen property;
  2. Knowing that the property is stolen; and
  3. Possessed the stolen property for the purpose of withholding it from the rightful owner or setting it aside for use by anyone other than the rightful owner.

A person can commit the crime of possessing stolen property in the first degree, second degree, or third degree.

Possessing Stolen Property in the First Degree:

According to RCW §9A.56.150, a person may be charged with possessing stolen property in the first degree if a person possesses stolen property, as defined above, which exceeds $5,000 in value. This offense does not include possession of a stolen firearm or motor vehicle.

Penalties for Possessing Stolen Property in the First Degree in Washington:

Possession of stolen property in the first degree is a class B felony, which RCW §9A.20.021 defines as punishable by a maximum sentence of ten years in prison, a maximum fine of $20,000, or both.

Possessing Stolen Property in the Second Degree:

According to RCW §9A.56.160, a person may be charged with possessing stolen property in the second degree if a person possesses stolen property, as defined above, and

  1. The stolen property exceeds $750 in value, but does not exceed $5,000 (and is not a firearm or motor vehicle); or
  2. The stolen property is a public record, writing or instrument kept, filed, or deposited according law; or
  3. The stolen property is an access device.

Penalties for Possessing Stolen Property in the Second Degree in Washington:

Possession of stolen property in the second degree is a class C felony, which RCW §9A.20.021 defines as punishable by a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum fine of $10,000, or both.

Possessing Stolen Property in the Third Degree:

According to RCW §9A.56.170, a person may be charged with possessing stolen property in the third degree if a person possesses stolen property, as defined above, which does not exceed $750 in value.

Penalties for Possessing Stolen Property in the Third Degree in Washington:

Possession of stolen property in the third degree is a gross misdemeanor, which RCW §9A.20.021 defines as punishable by a maximum sentence of one year in prison, a maximum fine of $5,000, or both.

Defending a Possessing Stolen Property Charge:

There are various ways to defend a charge of possessing stolen property. For example, a skilled attorney might be able to prove that you did not know the property you possessed was stolen, or that you received the property with the intention of returning it to the rightful owner. It is crucial that you organize your defense strategy as soon as possible.