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Stealing – Receiving Tainted Property

In Queensland, it is an offence to accept tainted property, items or goods that have been stolen. The offence is known as “Receiving Tainted Property.” It does not matter that the person who received the stolen property was not the one who actually stole the items. It still constitutes a criminal offence to merely accept, take or receive property that has been stolen, if when receiving it the person has reason to believe it to be stolen.

In Queensland, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a charge of receiving tainted property:

The Offence of Receiving Tainted Property:

A person who receives tainted property, and has reason to believe it is tainted property, commits a crime.

Penalty: Maximum penalty—

  • if the property was obtained by way of an act constituting a crime—14 years imprisonment; or
  • if the property is a firearm or ammunition — 14 years imprisonment; or
  • if the offender received the property while acting as a pawnbroker or dealer in second hand goods, under a licence or otherwise—14 years imprisonment; or
  • otherwise—7 years imprisonment.

What Actions Might Constitute Receiving Tainted Property?

  • Accepting a laptop from your friend who stole it from the shops.
  • Accepting a wallet your wife pickpocketed from an oblivious man on the train.
  • Receiving cash from a friend who obtained the funds through prostitution.

What the Police Must Prove:

  • A person received or accepted tainted property; and
  • Had reason to believe that the property was tainted.

Possible Defences for Receiving Tainted Property:

Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to:

  • The accused did not receive the property.
  • The accused did not the known the property was stolen.
  • Honest and mistaken belief owner had consented to him or her having the property.

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

The offence of receiving tainted property can be heard and determined in the Magistrates Court in its least serious form. If it is a more serious form or at a high value, the offence may be taken to the District Court.

Types of penalties:

Imprisonment : Even though it is not a sentence of last resort (as it is in some other states) imprisonment is the most serious penalty which a court can impose upon a person. At its most severe a sentence of imprisonment means that a person must spend a specified period of time within a correctional facility, also called a prison, a jail or a gaol. Read more.

Intensive corrections order (ICO): An Intensive Corrections Order (‘ICO’ for short) is, technically, a form of imprisonment but which is served wholly in the community. This means that a person who is made subject to an ICO will not spend any time in prison but will, instead, be required to adhere to a number of requirements that the court will order. Read more.

Probation: A court can make a Probation Order either by itself, meaning the whole of the sentence is probation, or as a component of a sentence of imprisonment, meaning that a person is ordered to serve a period of time (not longer than 1 year) in prison and is then subject to a probation requirement upon release. Read more.

Community service order(CSO): As the name implies, a Community Service Order (‘CSO’ for short) is an order which requires a person to perform unpaid work, normally at some kind of community facility, for a stated number of hours (to a maximum of 240) within a nominated time (usually 6 or 12 months). Read More.

Recognisance: A recognisance is a promise which a person makes to be of good behaviour for a stated period of time. A court is empowered to release a person who enters into a recognisance, either with a surety, which is a sum of money which the person agrees to pay if they breach the recognisance, or without one. Read More.

Fines: A court is empowered to impose a fine, which is a sum of money which a person is required to pay to the State, for any offence regardless of whether the law creating it nominates a fine as part of the applicable penalty. Read More.

Section 19 dismissal: A court can discharge a person absolutely, or upon them entering into a recognisance, without recording a conviction against them, if it is satisfied that it is appropriate to do so. Read More.

In all cases where you are sentenced to a penalty other than jail, the Court can choose not to record a conviction against you, meaning your criminal record will remain clear and any complications with work or travel may be avoided.


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