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Properly dealing with lost or mislaid property

| Sep 14, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

The potential of you coming under criminal scrutiny for something as serious as an alleged theft in New York may seem outlandish. Yet many of our past clients here at Robert D. Didio & Associates shared the same belief, only to later discover that the possibility of anyone facing criminal charges is ever-present.

The handling of mislaid property is one scenario in particular where (if you do not act in accordance with the law) you could inadvertently be in violation of the law. Thus, understanding what to do when you come across an apparent lost or mislaid item is vital to ensuring you remain above any potential suspicion.

Debunking the “finders keepers” myth

Many may tell you that if you find lost property or assets, it is within your rights to keep them. That is not the case. Indeed, according to Section 252 of New York’s Personal Property Laws, you must return any found item or asset you believe to be greater than $20 in value in one of the following ways:

  • Directly to the owner (if any indications exists on or near the item as to the owner’s identity)
  • To the police station having jurisdiction over the area in which you found it
  • To the owner of the property where you found it

Provided that you take one of the aforementioned actions, the owner cannot subsequently cannot press for any criminal or civil action against you.

Claiming ownership of lost property

If you hand any lost property over to law enforcement, they will retain it for a predetermined amount of time (either between three months to three years, depending on its value). If the owner does not claim it during that time, you can petition to claim possession of it.

You can find more information on avoiding criminal scrutiny by continuing to explore our site.


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