If I unknowingly received and sold stolen property, what will happen to me?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If I unknowingly received and sold stolen property, what will happen to me?

I had a friend with a gun cabinet holding onto my shot gun after hunting season last year. I wanted to sell my gun. He gave me what he thought was my gun. I had only used this one time since I bought it, so it had the right color barrel and stock and it looked like mine. I held onto it for a few months and then triedto sell it. They offered me more money than I thought it was worth. I took the money and immediately called my friend. He said he thought that he accidentally gave me his gun. It was his brother’s gun and he is now claiming to go to the police. What can I do?

Asked on November 28, 2010 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Criminal liability depends on a criminal state of mind, called mens rea, as well as a criminal action. For the most part, including in cases like this, if you truly thought it was your gun and had a right to sell it--and that belief was reasonable (e.g. it was the same or a very similar make to yours; when your friend gave you the gun, he said or indicated it was yours; etc.)--then you probably will not face criminal liability, though you certainly coulc be sued by the gun's actual owner (the brother) to receive either the gun's value or the amount you in fact were paid for it. You in turn might be able  to sue your friend for his role in causing this problem and causing you to incur liability. So you will very likely have to pay money, but if you truly though it was your gun, it's unlikely you'd face jail.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption