IfI unknowingly sold a stolen motorcycle, what can happen to me?

I bought the bike from someone with a bill of sale.I sold it and then it was recovered by police. Can I be arrested? Can I be sued?

Asked on September 23, 2010 under Criminal Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) If you truly had no idea that it was stolen, though you should not be subject to criminal liability. Criminal conviction depends on not just criminal acts--like receiving stolen property--but also criminal mindset or intention (called "mens rea") which you would not have had.

2) If the bike has already been recovered by the police (and therefore is available to be returned to the owner), it is not likely the owner could sue you. However, it possible that the person who bought the bike from you might have a claim for the return of his money, since he did not in fact receive what he paid for--a bike which he could own.


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