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Is receiving a stolen car or auto part a crime?

On Behalf of | Jun 14, 2023 | Shoplifting And Theft

Theft is a straightforward crime to understand. If you take something that’s not yours without permission, it’s considered theft. Taking a lady’s purse while she’s not looking is theft. The act of shoplifting is theft. Even recording a song to sell the reproductions without the consent of the original artist counts as theft.

But some situations may not immediately scream theft but can count as crimes.

Let’s say you’re meeting with a friend who asked you to come to his home because he wants to give you a present. You arrive, and after exchanging quick greetings, your friend asks you to hurry to his garage. In his garage, you find a car you recognize isn’t your friend’s. Before you can congratulate him on his new car, your friend hurriedly hands you the keys and says it’s his gift for you. You begin to think he’s such a great friend, but then he drops a bombshell statement:

He stole the car and wants to get rid of it quickly by giving it to you.

They say you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, but should you accept the car? You didn’t steal the car, so does that mean you can take your friend’s gift without issue?

According to Indiana law, anyone knowingly or intentionally receiving a stolen motor vehicle is accused of receiving stolen parts, which is considered a felony. State law even considers receiving individual stolen auto parts a felony.

Penalties for receiving a stolen car or auto parts

Whether you knowingly keep a stolen automobile or just its parts, you can face a Level 6 felony if you’re convicted. A Level 6 felony conviction carries a maximum two-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $10,000. However, if you have any prior convictions, the charge automatically upgrades to a Level 5 felony, which carries a maximum six-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $10,000.

To sum up, receiving a stolen car or auto parts is a crime with heavy penalties. You could challenge the allegation by claiming that you didn’t know the vehicle or the parts were stolen, but this can be incredibly difficult to prove in court. In these cases, you might need the experience of an attorney with theft law experience. An attorney can protect your interests and rights in the case, present you with options to defend yourself in court and find ways to reduce your penalties.