Many normal everyday residents in the State of Florida can easily and surprisingly be faced with charges for dealing in stolen property. Most transactions in stolen property tend to occur between friends and family from online sellers or in pawnshops. This is the case for about 90% of transactions. People that usually have to resort to these types of crimes tend to be those that are less fortunate in North Port, Florida.
No matter the value of the property, it is a criminal offense to traffic or endeavor to traffic stolen property within the State of Florida. If you have been charged with the crime of dealing in stolen property, you can face felony charges of the second-degree. Such charges come with severe penalties, for example, up to fifteen years in jail.
When it comes to felony charges of the second-degree for dealing in stolen property within the State of Florida, you will face severe prosecution in court. To ensure a fair trial, it is vital to seek legal advice from a reputable lawyer. Here at The Law Place, our team has a combined experience of over 75 years and will be able to aid you in fighting the charges that are being brought against you.
Our law firm has offices across the State of Florida, and we are available to help you when you most need it as our phone lines are open 24/7. Call us at any time of the day for a free case consultation at (941) 444-4444.
What the Florida Statute States About Dealing in Stolen Property
To sell, transfer, distribute, or dispose of property with the knowledge it is stolen is how the criminal offense of dealing in stolen property is defined under Florida Statute 281.019.
In order for a court of law and judge to establish that the defendant is guilty of such a crime, they need to establish the following facts:
- The property in question was trafficked or was endeavored to be trafficked by the defendant.
- An awareness by the defendant; knowing that the property was stolen or should have known that it was stolen.
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Explanation of Terminology
Within the context of Florida Statute 812.019:
- Property – This refers to anything of financial value. This could be actual property, as in bricks and mortar, along with any tangible object. Also, it can also refer to intangible property, such as a service being provided.
- Stolen property – This refers to any form of property, whether it be tangible or intangible, that has been taken illegally. If the property has been sold to the defendant, it still falls under stolen property.
- Traffic or trafficking – This refers to any property that has been disposed of by the defendant, by being sold, dispensed, or disposed of in any manner. Furthermore, if the defendant is found in possession of stolen property with the intention to use, sell, dispense, or dispose of it, they will still be charged under the same statute.
If you are found in possession of stolen property, not knowing it was stolen with no intention of selling the property, then you will not be charged under the same statute. But, you could be convicted of grand theft. Florida law is complex and difficult to understand. An experienced criminal defense attorney can aid you in further understanding what charges you are facing. In order to clarify your case, contact us today for a free consultation.
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Establishing Implication of Knowledge in a Dealing in Stolen Property Case
The majority of the time, the defendant will deny that they knew that the property they purchased was indeed stolen. Yet, the defendant can still be found guilty if the judge can prove that the defendant had established implication of knowledge. Under Florida Statute 812.022, the defendant can be charged as guilty if they fall under any of the below criteria:
- An unusual sale – If the stolen property was purchased by the defendant from an unreliable dealer that did not have the paperwork to prove legal ownership, this would fall under the category of an unusual sale. This establishes that the defendant had the implication of knowledge unless the defendant can prove otherwise.
- Overlooking the owner’s name – If a salesperson that is known to deal in used property is in possession of unlawful property, and the contact details of another person are visible and different to those of the salesperson, then this proves implication of knowledge unless the defendant can prove otherwise.
- The possession of the recently stolen property – If the defendant is in possession of property that has been recently stolen, then this is enough evidence to prove the implication of knowledge of the property being stolen.
- The purchase of goods below average market value – If the defendant purchased a property that was sold below average market value, that was in reality stolen, this establishes the implication of knowledge.
- Ignition bypass on a vehicle – If a vehicle looks as if it has been tampered with, such as the steering wheel lock has been broken or visible damage to the ignition mechanism, this raises speculation that the defendant has the implication of knowledge that the vehicle being stolen.
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The Penalties Associated With Second-Degree Stolen Property Cases
It is surprisingly easy to get involved in a situation when it comes to stolen property, yet most residents of North Port are unaware of how easy it is to fall into such a situation. If you are caught in possession of stolen property, the consequences could be quite severe. Under Florida law, stolen property cases are classified as a level five offense, which falls under the category of a second-degree felony.
If the court and judge rule judgment by convicting the defendant of such a crime, then they could face the following penalties:
- A sentence of up to a maximum of fifteen years of imprisonment.
- A sentence of up to a maximum of fifteen years of probation.
- A monetary fine of up to $10,000.
The charges of the case could be increased to a first-degree felony, based on the specific circumstances. The crime is more serious if the defendant is found guilty of being involved in a criminal organization or had any planning, awareness, or financial commitment before proceeded to traffic the stolen property. If the defendant is convicted with a first-degree felony, then they can be charged with thirty years in jail along with a monetary fine up to the value of $10,000.
If you are a serial offender and have been apprehended for dealing in stolen property or grand theft multiple times, then the judge can implicate penalties with far more severe consequences.
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Defenses in Stolen Property Cases
With the aid of an experienced criminal defense attorney, the defendant may be able to face lesser charges or evade them completely. If the defendant has a reasonable explanation, then they cannot be accused of such a crime, and the case can be dismissed. Below is a list of generic defenses that are available in the court of law for such cases:
- The defendant has proof of legal ownership, meaning that the property was not stolen.
- The defendant was sincerely unaware that the property purchased was stolen.
- The defendant had no knowledge of how the property had been purchased and was pawning the property on behalf of someone else.
- The property was not actually trafficked.
- The defendant thought it was within their rights to dispose of the stolen property.
- The defendant had sufficient clarification on why any implications of knowledge could not be established.
- The defendant alleged that the property was abandoned.
- The defendant alleged that the property had been given to them as a gift.
- There is an evident case of mistaken identity in relation to the ownership of the property.
- The suspected victim has faultily claimed ownership of the property.
- There is an extensive lack of evidence that the property is indeed stolen.
Here at The Law Place, we will work alongside you and create an attorney-client relationship built on trust. In order to do so, our team of criminal defense attorneys will review all the evidence to give you a fighting chance in court.
Statute of Limitations for Dealing in Stolen Property Cases
Florida Statute 812.035 stipulates that there is a five-year statute of limitations applied to such a crime. This means that usually, you cannot be convicted of charges of the crime once five years have gone passed since you supposedly committed the crime in question. But, depending on the situation and circumstances, this time frame can be prolonged, and you could still potentially face criminal charges.
What Will Happen If I Am Arrested for Dealing in Stolen Property?
You may be in shock and disbelief that you are being arrested for being in possession of stolen property, especially if you were completely unaware of the situation. Upon being arrested, you will be taken to jail, where you will be given a bond to use for your release. You can post the bond yourself, or alternatively, you can hire someone known as a “bondsman” that can do this on your behalf. Following this, you will be presented with an arraignment. This is your opportunity to either plead guilty or not guilty.
At this stage, you may want to consider hiring a criminal defense lawyer and do not have to plead until your lawyer is present. Upon hiring a criminal defense lawyer, they will review your charges and the case in question to determine what the most suitable course of action is. Depending on the outcome of the review, your lawyer may be able to get the case dropped immediately, or alternatively, the case may have to go to trial. A highly reputable and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer will be able to aid you in reducing the charges or having them dropped altogether.
Contact The Law Place Today
Under Florida law, if you are apprehended and charged for dealing in the stolen property, you will most likely be facing second-degree felony charges. Such criminal charges come with hefty penalties that could have an impact on the remainder of your life. Your best opportunity to avoid or reduce these criminal charges is hiring a team of criminal defense attorneys. Our criminal defense attorneys have years of experience in dealing with the law and understand its complexity. Even if you were unaware that the property in question was stolen, we still highly advise that you seek the advice of an attorney. We will work tirelessly on your behalf to aid you in achieving a fair trial and overall outcome to your case.
Here at The Law Place, we have high standards and are known for providing great service and establishing an attorney-client relationship that is based on honesty and trust. Call us at any time of the day for free legal advice at (941) 444-4444.
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