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NY Penal Law § 165.40: Criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree

The New York criminal code has several offenses related to theft. Petit larceny, grand larceny, robbery, and embezzlement, for example, are all crimes related to stealing. However, it is also a crime to possess stolen property. This means that even if you did not steal the property, or the prosecutor does not have evidence proving that you stole the property, you could still face a criminal charge related to having stolen property in your possession. There are 5 possession of stolen property offenses in the New York criminal code. The least serious is criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree. Under New York Penal Law § 165.40 you will face this charge if you knowingly possess property that has been stolen with the intent to benefit yourself or a third party and with the intent to make sure that the owner of the property does not get it back.


Harry entered a department store, slipped a watch into his pocket and left the store. Shortly thereafter Harry was stopped by store security. Harry could be prosecuted for both larceny and criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree.

Edna found a great deal for a designer handbag on an online auction site. Edna was the highest bidder, and the handbag was shipped to her. It was later determined that the person who sold Edna the handbag had stolen it from a store. Although Edna was in possession of stolen property it is unlikely that she would face prosecution as she did not know that the handbag was stolen.

Related Offenses
  1. Petit larceny: New York Penal Law § 155.25

Because the statute requires for you to have knowledge that the property was stolen, a defense to a charge of criminal possession of stolen property in fifth degree is that you were not aware that the property was stolen. In addition, the statute also requires that you have intent to keep the property from its owner. If you have the property, but intend to return it to the owner, you may have a valid defense to the charge.


Because criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree is a Class A misdemeanor if you are convicted you could be sent to county jail for up to one year, and you may be required to pay a fine. It is also possible for the judge to sentence you to a probation term of 3 years.

New York Penal Law § 165.40: Criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree

A person is guilty of criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree when he knowingly possesses stolen property, with intent to benefit himself or a person other than an owner thereof or to impede the recovery by an owner thereof.

New York Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree Lawyer

Even though criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree is a misdemeanor and not a felony, it is still important to have experienced representation. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with crimes such as harassment, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, assault, and reckless endangerment. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of crimes in the following locations:

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