Whilst all of us are aware that it is against the law to steal property in Florida, many people do not know that you can face serious criminal charges for dealing with stolen property, even for doing something as simple as selling an item on eBay. Even though Florida Statute 812.022 aims to target sophisticated and large-scale stolen property trafficking operations, in most cases, those who are charged do not fit this model. Anyone who deals in property that any reasonable person should know was stolen can be charged and punished accordingly.
Whilst you might assume that your unintentional actions will not result in a criminal charge, it is important to be aware that dealing in stolen property is considered a serious felony offense in Florida, and it can result in expensive fines and even prison time, as well as a criminal record that can affect your future.
At The Law Place, we have over seventy-five years of combined experience in defending the criminally accused. Using our skills and knowledge of Florida law, we can work to have your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether. Let a criminal defense lawyer from our law firm defend your rights and protect your future. For more information, contact us today to schedule a free consultation at (941) 444-4444. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
What Florida Law Says About Dealing in Stolen Property
According to Florida Statute 812.022, to achieve a conviction for grand theft, the state prosecutor has the burden of establishing the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant trafficked stolen property or attempted to traffic stolen property.
- The property in question was stolen property.
- The defendant knew the property was stolen or should have known that it was stolen.
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Penalties for Dealing in Stolen Property in Venice
In the State of Florida, dealing in stolen property is classed a second-degree felony. Penalties include up to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. If you are successfully convicted, you may also be required to complete a 15-year probation term.
The penalties get even more serious if you are found to have trafficked in stolen property and are found guilty of initiating, organizing, planning, financing, directing, managing, or supervising the theft of the property. The charges could be upgraded to a first-degree felony, and you could be facing up to 30 years in prison
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Penalties for Dealing in Stolen Property Online in Venice
Resale websites such as Amazon, Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and Craigslist have become extremely common in the retail market. Unfortunately, many people exploit these sites, and they have become a common way to sell stolen goods.
According to Florida Statute 812.0195, any item an individual sells online that they know has been stolen, or has reasonable cause to believe was stolen, will face criminal charges. The penalties associated with this crime will be based on the value of the property that was stolen but can include:
- A second-degree misdemeanor – If the property is valued at $300 or less. Penalties include up to sixty days in a Venice County jail.
- A third-degree felony – If the property is valued at $300 or more. Penalties include up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
To find out more about what charges you could be facing, call The Law Place for a free consultation with a criminal defense lawyer.
Possible Defenses to Dealing in Stolen Property Charges
To contest charges of dealing in stolen property, you will need the help of a qualified lawyer that can put forward a satisfactory explanation as to why you were in possession of it. For example:
- Do you have a satisfactory explanation as to why you bought the goods?
- Did you ever have reason to believe you were buying property that had been stolen?
- Did you ever have reason to believe that you were selling stolen property?
- Can you explain the innocent set of circumstances that resulted in you being in possession of stolen goods?
- Do you have a valid explanation about how you came into possession of the stolen goods?
An experienced criminal defense attorney from our law firm will build a criminal defense based on the circumstances of your individual case. To discuss your legal options, contact us today for a free case evaluation.
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What to Expect Following an Arrest for Dealing in Stolen Property in Venice
Following an arrest for dealing in stolen property, you will be taken to jail, where it is likely that you will be given a bond that you can post to get out. You can hire a bondsman or post the bond yourself. An arraignment will then take place, and you can plead not guilty to your charges. If you have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side, you will not have to attend this arraignment as they can enter your plea on your behalf. Your attorney can then begin working on your case. They will look at the evidence against you and build a defense based on all the available information. If you can provide a satisfactory explanation as to why you sold, bought, or were in possession of the goods, your charges could be dismissed. If the state does not accept your explanation, you can exercise your right to a jury trial. With the right legal support, there is a good chance that your charges will be reduced to a misdemeanor theft charge.
It is never a good idea to attempt to explain your way out of these charges by yourself. Even if you honestly had no idea that the property was stolen, you could confuse matters or say something that could be used against you in court. If you are taken in for questioning, the only thing you should say is that you want your criminal defense attorney present. Never talk to the police without an attorney at your side. An officer could convince you that your best option is to enter a guilty plea, but this is usually not the case. A qualified criminal defense attorney from The Law Place can review your case and explain your legal options during a free, no-obligation consultation.
Call The Law Place Today for a Free Consultation With a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested and been charged with dealing in stolen property, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. You could be facing serious criminal charges that could impact your future for years to come.
Our dedicated team of lawyers values each and every client that comes to us for support. We can provide honest legal advice, work with the state prosecutor to reach a settlement, or take your case to trial if necessary. With our help, you can avoid a criminal conviction, thousands of dollars in fines, and even several years in jail. For more information, contact The Law Place today to schedule a free consultation at (941) 444-4444. There is always someone available to take your call because our phone lines are open 24.7.