Florida Criminal Defense Cases For Dealing In Stolen Property
There are many types of theft crimes. Each can be defined very differently in the State of Florida. According to Florida Law, it is a criminal offense for a person to possess, buy, sell or traffic property that they know or are pretty certain is stolen goods. Dealing in stolen property is a punishable offense with a second degree felony and a prison sentence of up to 15 years.
Because the punishment for this crime is so severe, an individual charged with a trafficking in stolen goods charge should obtain a qualified and aggressive criminal defense, such as The Law Office of William B. Bennett, P.A.
What Does Dealing In Stolen Property Mean?
Florida Law states that dealing in stolen property is a type of theft that occurs where a person sells, distributes, transfers or disposes of property that is stolen or property that the individual has good reason to suspect is stolen.
Therefore, in order to establish a conviction on a dealing in stolen property charge, the prosecution has to prove two points beyond a reasonable doubt:
- That the defendant did traffic, sell, distribute or dispose of property that was stolen.
- That the defendant knew the property was stolen.
In a dealing in stolen property case, the term “property” refers to anything of value. This can be a physical item of any size or stature. Likewise, it can be an intangible item such as rights, services, claims, privileges, etc.
The phrase “stolen property” can refer to property that has been obtained through criminal means or it has been offered for sale with a criminal intent.
When using the word “trafficking” as in trafficking in stolen property, the term is meant that the defendant sold, distributed, disposed of or transported property that was obtained illegally. It can also mean the purchase or possession of stolen property with the intended purpose to sell it.
Dealing in stolen property is a second degree felony in the state of Florida. Notably, it is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Furthermore, if an individual organizes, manages, finances and masterminds an operation for the theft of stolen goods with the intent to sell or distribute the stolen goods, it is possible that the criminal charges can result in a first degree felony. In effect, these types of charges are typically connected to organized crime and racketeering charges.
How Do You Defend Against A Trafficking In Stolen Goods Charge?
In general, dealing in stolen goods is actually a charge that can be easily defended against depending on the case. Therefore, there are several defenses including:
- Proving that the property was abandoned or was thought to have been abandoned.
- Arguing that the property was a gift.
- Proof that the property in question was not stolen goods.
- Showing a lack of evidence that the property was stolen.
- Showing a lack of knowledge that the property was stolen.
- Proving that items sold in a pawn shop were at the request of another person while not possessing knowledge of where the items came from.
- Proving a false claim of ownership by the victim.
- Proving the defendant had a right to dispose of the property.
- Arguing a mistaken identity with regards to the property.
Contact The Law Office Of William B. Bennett, P.A.
Depending on the facts of the case, a dealing in stolen property charge can be a highly defendable case. However, the punishments are severe and a defendant should in no way try to navigate the charges without acquiring qualified legal representation.
If you have been charged with dealing in stolen property, please call the Law Office of William B. Bennett, P.A. today at (727) 821-8000 or use the contact form on our site here to schedule a free consultation. In summary, our criminal defense team has handled thousands of criminal law cases throughout St. Petersburg and Tampa. We can help you understand your rights and your options.