Movies often depict dealers in stolen property, otherwise known as fences, as being highly secretive members of an elite criminal organization hidden from the public eye. However, the truth is that many of the people charged with dealing in stolen property are average folks who didn’t know the item was stolen in the first place.
In Sarasota County, Florida, dealing in stolen property is a second-degree felony offense that can result in years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. If police suspect you of orchestrating the theft of property for selling, you can be charged with a more serious felony that can end with you in prison for decades.
If you have been charged with dealing in stolen property, contact The Law Place immediately to get the best legal representation available. Our track record shows that we have an unrivaled reputation in getting the best results for our clients across the State of Florida and in multiple practice areas. We have combined experience totaling over 75 years and can guarantee an exceptional approach to the individual needs of your defense, offering an attorney-client relationship built on trust in Sarasota County.
Don’t wait. Call us today to schedule your free consultation. Contact The Law Place Sarasota office now at (941) 444-4444.
What Is Dealing in Stolen Property in Sarasota, FL?
Florida Statute 812.019 defines dealing in stolen property as a second-degree felony crime where an individual traffics or endeavors to traffic in property that is stolen. The defendant will have known that the property was stolen or reasonably should have known the property was stolen.
For example, an individual sells a ring that was initially pawned to them without proof of ownership and under strange circumstances. It turns out that the ring was stolen from a house a few days before. The owner of the pawnshop can be charged with dealing in stolen property because they had the intent to sell the ring after they had received it. Even if the owner had no constructive knowledge of the ring’s origins, the strange circumstances under which they came into its possession are cause for the reasonable belief that the item was stolen.
Under the same statute, initiating, organizing, financing, directing, supervising, planning, or facilitating the theft of property and eventual sale of the stolen items is a third-degree felony. The consequences for this are much more serious than the previous offense. This has to do with planning and coordinating the criminal efforts of an individual or individuals with the intent to sell the items that are gained from the theft.
For example, someone enlists the aid of their friend to steal a valuable necklace from a house. After their friend commits the burglary, the individual sells the necklace and splits the profit with their friend. This person can be charged with a felony in the first degree.
If you purchased stolen property but made no effort to sell it or had no intention of selling it, you cannot be charged with dealing in stolen property. However, you may face other criminal charges, such as grand theft.
Does the Value of the Stolen Property Affect the Criminal Charges in Sarasota, FL?
Under Florida law, the value of the stolen items that were sold or intended to be sold has no effect on what charges can be brought against the defendant. A stolen item worth $20 could receive the same punishment as an item worth $2,000. While the judge may consider the value of the property in question when evaluating potential penalties after conviction, their value does not affect the charges that the protection can file.
Definitions Used in Dealing in Florida Stolen Property Charges
The following terms are used in every case of dealing in stolen property:
- Property – Anything tangible or intangible, physical or digital, that holds value. Included in this is anything that grows on, is affixed to, or is found on privately or publically owned land. Any intellectual property that a company or individual may hold rights to is considered to be property in this definition. The associated rights, privileges, services, claims, or interests are considered inseparable from the property in question.
- Traffic – The selling or intent to sell any property that is stolen. Any disposal otherwise is included in this definition, such as trading, bartering, exchanging, or negotiating for another item using the property in question. If you purchased, received, controlled, or came into the possession of the stolen property to sell it afterward, you can be charged with the same crime.
- Endeavor – The action that is taken to sell or otherwise dispose of the stolen property in question. This must be overt and cannot include words or thoughts. An endeavor must have brought the defendant closer to the act of selling the stolen property.
- Stolen – Anything that was wrongfully taken by criminal and illegal means.
Knowing these terms is important to understand the charges against you. If you are unclear as to the wording of the prosecution’s case, contact The Law Place to schedule a free consultation where the charges will be outlined for you.
Penalties for Dealing in Stolen Property in Florida
Florida Statutes 775.082, 775.083, and 775.084 list the available penalties for felonies in the second degree, such as dealing in stolen property. These are the maximum penalties allowed by law. But, the prosecution may recommend a lighter sentence to the judge who has it within their discretion to decide the exact penalty you could face after a conviction. For dealing in stolen property, you could face:
- Maximum of 15 years in prison.
- Maximum of 15 years of probation.
- Maximum of $10,000 in fines.
- A permanent addition to your criminal record.
Being caught facilitating the theft of property and sale of stolen items is a more serious charge that is prosecuted as a felony in the first-degree. The penalties for this can be:
- Maximum of 30 years in prison.
- Maximum of $15,000 in fines.
- Probation for the remainder of your natural life.
- A permanent addition to your criminal record.
If violent crimes, sex crimes, or other types of serious criminal conduct occurred during the theft you had planned, you could face other charges from the prosecution.
As you can see, dealing in stolen property and facilitating the theft of property is an extremely serious criminal charge with severe penalties that can result in imprisonment for what is essentially the rest of your life. If you have been arrested and charged with this crime, you need to contact The Law Place immediately to organize your defense.
Statute of Limitations for Dealing in Stolen Property Charges in Florida
Statutes of limitations, or time limits for the prosecution to file charges, vary depending on the nature of the crime in question. For dealing in stolen property, the prosecution has 5 years from the date the crime was committed to file charges against the suspect, according to Florida Statute 812.035.
If the suspect is outside the State of Florida or does not have an ascertainable place of residence within the state, the statute of limitations does not start running. However, this cannot extend the time limit by more than 1 year, meaning the prosecution has 6 years to file charges if the suspect does not reside within state boundaries.
Potential Defenses for Dealing in Stolen Property in Sarasota, Florida
In Sarasota, many circumstances may lead to people being unjustly charged with dealing in stolen property. A Sarasota criminal defense attorney can prove your innocence to the court in several ways, that include but are not limited to arguing:
- You had no constructive knowledge that the property is stolen.
- You could not have reasonably known the property was stolen.
- Another person had knowledge the property was stolen and misled you into selling it on their behalf.
- The stolen property was not being trafficked as defined by Florida law.
- You thought you had the right to sell the property.
- The property was not actually stolen.
- You thought the property had been given to you legally or was abandoned by the rightful owner.
- The alleged owner of the stolen property had no legal rights to the property in question.
- The alleged victim made false statements regarding the ownership of the property or if it was stolen.
- The prosecution does not have sufficient evidence to prove the property was stolen and intended to be trafficked.
- There is evidence that refutes the prosecution’s claims that the property was stolen or trafficked.
If you are unsure of how a criminal defense attorney can protect you from dealing in stolen property charges, contact The Law Place Sarasota office today. A lawyer will examine the charges against you and explain potential defense strategies.
Can a Dealing in Stolen Property Conviction Be Expunged in Sarasota, FL?
Expungement is the process by which criminal records are destroyed and stricken from the public record. Criminal convictions in Florida cannot be expunged.
However, Florida does allow for arrest records to be expunged. If your dealing in stolen property case was dismissed, the charges were dropped, or you were found not guilty, you can have your arrest removed from your criminal record. This is a complex process that requires the help of a qualified lawyer, so contact The Law Place to discuss how we can go about doing this on your behalf.
Also, if you were a minor at the time of your arrest or conviction for dealing in stolen property, you may be able to have the conviction expunged from your record. There must be specific circumstances that justify this decision, so you should contact a criminal defense lawyer to help prove your case to the judge.
What If I’ve Been Arrested for Dealing in Stolen Property in Florida and Don’t Have a Lawyer Yet?
If you’ve been arrested and are in jail or police custody, the most important thing to do is to say nothing. Aside from basic information like your name and legal place of residence, you do not have to provide any further information to the police or prosecutors. Even if you think an explanation may help your case, do not explain anything. Wait for a defense lawyer to be present for all talks with relevant authorities.
Try to organize as much information as possible for your lawyer to examine. This will save them some time and allow them to focus their efforts on your defense.
Contact The Law Place to have a lawyer represent you as soon as possible. You need a qualified professional addressing the complexities of the charges against you and advising you on what to say and not say. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
Contact The Law Place Sarasota, FL., Criminal Defense Lawyers Today!
Have you been charged with dealing in stolen property in Sarasota County? Do you believe that the item was not stolen, or were you misled by the person who sold you the property in question?
Contact The Law Place in Sarasota County to start organizing your defense immediately. We offer a free consultation with a qualified criminal defense lawyer who will explain our fee structure and what our law firm can do for you. The Law Place has a team of attorneys with over 75 years of combined experience in many practice areas of Florida law. Therefore, ensuring a thorough and diverse approach to the individual needs of your criminal case.
Don’t wait to start preparing for your court trial. Contact The Law Place today at (941) 444-4444.