What to do if I apparently I was in possession of a stolen laptop but did not know that it was stolen when it was given to me?.

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What to do if I apparently I was in possession of a stolen laptop but did not know that it was stolen when it was given to me?.

I got it around my senior year in HS from this guy that always loitered around the park across the street. Long story short, I don’t have contact w/ him, never had contact with him other than physically being in front of him, and I don’t know his last name just his 1st.I came home from Canada about a year ago and my parents had told me the police came by for it so I gave it to my parents. I recently found it in my mom’s closet so I took it and used it b/c I thought they just lied about the police coming for it. I spoke to the police today and basically told them just that and they will be contacting me for further questioning. Am I OK?

Asked on December 16, 2013 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Two things are necessary for criminal liability:

1) A criminal act, like receiving stolen goods; and

2) A criminal intention or state of mind (called "mens rea").

IF you truly did not know it was stolen--which includes not having reason to know or suspect it was stoken; that is, you're not allowed to turn a "blind eye" when any reasonable person would have known or suspected criminality--then you would not have had the necessary intention and would not have committed a crime.


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