Are You Liable if You Buy Stolen Merchandise in Texas? Information from a Criminal Attorney in Lubbock, TX

Are You Liable if You Buy Stolen Merchandise in Texas? Information from a Criminal Attorney in Lubbock, TX

May 14, 2019

Whenever you purchase an item from another person from a garage sale or flea market or off of a website like Craigslist or eBay, you’re typically not going to have any real solid knowledge of the history of the item before you purchased it. This means that there is always a slim chance that the item was stolen.

While there are laws against purchasing or receiving stolen goods, typically you will not get into trouble at all unless you knew or had reason to know that the items were stolen before you made the purchase. Here’s some information from a criminal attorney in Lubbock, TX about what can happen if you purchase stolen goods.

No Knowledge? No Problem!

In the vast majority of cases, you are required to have known the property was stolen if you are to be charged with receiving stolen property. It would be unreasonable for you to be charged with a crime for something you had no knowledge you did. You will likely be required to return the property to its rightful owner, but you will be able to get restitution from the thief, if caught.

Vendor Liability

However, there are still some laws that exist regarding stolen merchandise that you should be aware of. It is especially important for people who own pawn shops or run/sell at flea markets to be aware of these laws, as these locations tend to be prime for thieves to want to get rid of some of their stolen merchandise.

While shoppers are likely going to be protected from the law against purchasing stolen property, the same cannot necessarily be said of the people who own those pawn shops or who work as vendors at flea markets.

Responsibility of Record-Keeping

In most states, anyone who sells second-hand property at thrift stores, pawn shops, flea markets and the like is required to do some reasonable digging into the background of the property and whether or not the seller had any legal right to its ownership. Texas is particularly meticulous in this regard, requiring all buyers of second-hand merchandise to record the name, address and physical description of the seller, and also to obtain a signed warranty indicating the seller did, indeed, have the right to possess the property in question.

If there’s anything about the transaction that seems “off,” it is up to the vendor to turn down the transaction. Otherwise, the purchase could be considered an example of recklessness, and they could be charged with purchasing stolen goods.

For more information, contact a criminal attorney in Lubbock, TX.

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