A widower threw a pair of stolen registration plates out of a car window when gardai approached the vehicle, a court heard.
John Paul McDonagh (31) claimed he was handed the plates by an acquaintance and foolishly took them.
Judge Patricia McNam- ara imposed a three-month sentence, suspended for 12 months.
The defendant, of Dorset Street, Dublin 1, admitted handling stolen property.
Sgt Ciaran O'Neill told Tallaght District Court he was on patrol at Glenmore Park, Tallaght, on November 19, 2017, when he approached McDonagh's vehicle.
He saw McDonagh throw a set of registration plates out of the window.
They had been stolen from a car parked in a neighbouring estate.
The court heard McDonagh had 14 previous convictions.
Defence lawyer Stephen Montgomery said McDonagh's wife died suddenly in 2017 and he was the sole carer for their three children.
Mr Montgomery said McDonagh did not steal the plates but was handed them by an acquaintance and foolishly took possession of them.