Many criminal offenses are easy to define. For instance, if an individual attacks an innocent person, causing them harm, then this is a clear assault. Additionally, walking into a store and purposely taking an item without paying for it is a blatant example of theft.
Not all offenses are this straightforward though. Receiving stolen goods is a serious criminal offense but it is not always easy to establish whether or not this has happened. Outlined below are a few important things to consider.
What if you purchased something from a store?
Most of us when we purchase something from a legitimate store ask few questions as to where those goods were supplied from. We make the purchase and get in and out of there as quickly as possible. However, storefronts can be a cover for criminal activity.
Have you been to that store before? Is it a well-established chain across the country? How could they afford to sell you those goods at a cheaper price than anywhere else? Is it possible that the goods were stolen before you purchased them?
Can gifts get you into trouble?
You’re recently reacquainted with an old friend. You don’t know much about their recent history but you’re enjoying catching up on lost time. They’re eager to impress you and show you how well they’ve done in life. Unexpectedly, they turn up with a gold watch and give it to you. It must have cost thousands of dollars. Or did it? Is there a chance that this estranged friend has been engaging in criminal activity and just gifted you some of the proceeds?
It all comes down to prior knowledge
Whether or not you face criminal charges comes down to whether you knew, or had reason to believe that the goods were stolen. The prosecution is likely to argue that you did. If you didn’t then it’s vital to have some legal guidance on your side to establish that you had no knowledge or reason to believe that the goods were stolen.