California’s famous three strikes law was created in 1994 and received voter approval. The murder case of Polly Klaas and Kimber Reynolds was the catalyst for implementing the three-strikes law.
A surprising number of people think that obstruction of justice is something the writers of procedural shows made up in order to correct plot holes. While it’s true, obstruction of justice is an overused plot device, it is also a real thing. If you live in California, there are a few things you should know about the state’s obstruction of justice laws.
One of the interesting things about obstruction of justice in California is that the state doesn’t have a specific obstruction of justice crime. Instead, it’s a blanket term that’s used to describe a variety of offenses that are commonly referred to as California’s obstruction of justice laws.
Official offenses that are considered forms of obstruction of justice include:
Don’t assume that just because you didn’t actively participate in a burglary that the items taken during the burglary won’t get you into trouble. They likely will.
It doesn’t really matter if you hold stolen items in your garage while your friend finds a fence, if you’re gifted a stolen television, or if you purchase stolen goods, if those items are found in your possession, you could find yourself facing a charge of receiving stolen property in California.
The topic of receiving stolen property in California is dealt with in PC 496. It states that:
“Every person who buys or receives any property that has been stolen or that has been obtained in any manner constituting theft or extortion, knowing the property to be so stolen or obtained, or who conceals, sells, withholds, or aids in concealing, selling, or withholding any property from the owner, knowing the property to be so stolen or obtained, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.”
That sounds pretty serious, doesn’t it? It also sounds like you could be charged with receiving stolen property in California even if you knew nothing about the crime or the history of the items you’re purchasing or accepting as a gift.
This is one of those situations where reading the law doesn’t really provide you with the full picture. Yes, if you purchase items that were involved in a robbery, you could be charged with receiving stolen goods in California, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be convicted.
To secure a conviction the prosecutor has to prove two things. The first two are usually relatively easy for them to prove. They have to show that:
The items involved in your case really were stolen
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