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

UPDATED: Sep 23, 2010

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 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.

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.

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