A person who knowingly possesses stolen property without an intention to return it to the rightful owner may be charged with Criminal Possession of Stolen Property. Often, CPSP is charged along with Larceny because committing Larceny puts one in possession of stolen property. In some cases, though, CPSP will be the only charge. Circumstances in which CPSP is charged alone include:
- A person is found in possession of the stolen property, but the evidence is insufficient to prove Larceny (the taking of the property); or
- A person knowingly receives stolen property, such as through purchase or acceptance of a gift
In the vast majority of cases, CPSP charges result from Larceny, whether or not there is sufficient evidence to support both charges. For example, a laptop disappears from a busy coffee shop and is later found in a person’s possession. If there is little or no evidence of the actual theft, then the charge will only be CPSP. However, if there is surveillance video showing a person removing the laptop from the coffee shop or a witness who is able to identify the person who took the property, then a prosecutor will likely pursue both charges.
Degrees of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in New York
There are five degrees of CPSP, with Fifth, the lowest, and First, the highest. Degree is generally determined by the value of the property, although there are some exceptions.
CPSP in the Fifth Degree
CPSP in the Fifth Degree, Penal Law Section 165.40, is charged when the value of the property allegedly possessed is $1,000 or less, assuming that there is no enhancing element. CPSP in the Fifth Degree is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail.
For a person with little or no criminal history, there may be alternatives to conviction, even if the prosecutor’s evidence is strong. For example, the prosecution may offer an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD). If all terms are fulfilled, an ACD results in dismissal and sealing of charges after 6 months. Some common terms in CPSP cases include avoiding additional arrests and community service.
Another possibility is a plea to Disorderly Conduct. Because Disorderly Conduct is a violation and not a crime, this plea bargain will not result in a permanent criminal record.
CPSP in the Fourth Degree
CPSP in the Fourth Degree, Penal Law Section 165.45, is charged when the property in question is valued at more than $1,000, but less than $3,000. Possession of a stolen credit card, debit card or public benefit card also falls within this category. CPSP in the Fourth Degree is a class E felony, punishable by 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison.
Although a Fourth Degree charge is obviously more serious and potentially carries more severe penalties than the Fifth Degree, the outcome depends upon the facts of the case and the knowledge and experience of your advocate. A skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate for a reduction to a misdemeanor charge, or even an ACD or plea to a violation like Disorderly Conduct.
CPSP in the Third Degree
When the property allegedly possessed is valued at more than $3,000 but less than $50,000, the charge will be Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Third Degree, Penal Law Section 165.50. CPSP in the Third Degree is a class D felony, punishable by 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison.
CPSP in the Second Degree
CPSP in the Second Degree, Penal Law Section 165.52, is the charge in cases where the property in question is valued at more than $50,000, but less than $1,000,000. As a class C felony, CPSP in the Second Degree is punishable by 5 to 15 year in prison.
CPSP in the First Degree
Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the First Degree, Penal Law Section 165.54, is charged when the property allegedly possessed is valued at more than $1,000,000. CPSP in the First Degree is a class B felony, and may result in up to 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison.
Criminal Possession of Stolen Credit Cards and Debit Cards in New York
As noted above, CPSP is charged in the Fourth Degree and is a felony if the stolen property includes at least one credit card, debit card or public benefit card.
In addition to impacting the classification of the crime and possible penalties, possession of these items impacts the burden of proof in a CPSP case, making it easier for the prosecution to obtain a conviction. In a CPSP case, as in other criminal prosecutions, the burden is on the prosecutor to prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In a CPSP case, one of the elements the state must prove is that the defendant possessed the stolen property knowingly.
However, if a person possesses two or more stolen credit and/or debit cards, it creates a legal presumption that the defendant knew the cards were stolen. Although the presumption may be rebutted by the defense, the shifting of that burden creates a significant advantage for the prosecution.
Rebutting the presumption of knowledge requires an in-depth understanding of criminal law and procedure. If you’ve been charged with criminal possession of stolen credit or debit cards, get a knowledgeable, experienced advocate on your side.
Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in New York
Under New York law, a person is guilty of Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in two circumstances:
- He or she has overstayed a car rental agreement under certain specific circumstances; or
- He or she has used a vehicle without the owner’s consent in either the commission of or immediate flight from a felony crime
Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle by Overstaying a Rental Car Agreement
A first offense for overstaying a rental car agreement is charged as Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the Third Degree, Penal Law Section 165.05. To be found guilty of this form of Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle, a person must:
- Keep the vehicle far enough beyond the rental period to constitute “gross deviation” from the agreement; and
- Continued possession of the rental car beyond a mailing from the rental company demanding returning of the car
If possession of the rental totals 15 days or less, no crime is committed unless and until 7 days after the end of the rental period and 2 days after service or a certified mailing to the renter demanding return of the vehicle.
Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the Third Degree is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail. However, it is often possible to negotiate for a better outcome. For example, the prosecutor may agree to an ACD or a plea bargain to Disorderly Conduct, which is a violation rather than a crime.. With restitution or community service, it is often possible to avoid a criminal record and jail time altogether.
Don’t assume the worst. Contact us today to learn more about your options.
If the accused has a prior conviction for Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle within the previous 10 years, the charged is bumped up to Second Degree, Penal Law Section 165.06. Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the Second Degree is a class E felony, which may result in up to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison.
Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the First Degree
Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the First Degree, Penal Law Section 165.08, a class D felony, occurs when someone uses a car in the commission of a felony or the immediate flight from a felony offense without the owner’s permission. This charge may result in up to 7 years in prison. However, since this crime occurs only in conjunction with the commission of another felony, the overall penalty will depend in large part on the nature of that crime.
If you’re facing Criminal Possession of Stolen Property charges of any type, we can help. Contact us today, before you take any further action.