Dealing in stolen property in the state of Florida is a serious crime, requiring experienced legal assistance. It is important to act quickly, as the prosecutor will typically make a decision as to whether to formally file charges within about three weeks after an arrest. Under Florida Statutes, Section 812.019, the offense of Dealing in Stolen Property is a second-degree felony. The prosecutor will be required to show that you either knew—or should have known—the property was stolen. If you financed, planned, initiated, organized, directed or supervised the theft of property, then trafficked that stolen property, you will face a first-degree felony with a very serious penalty of up to thirty years in prison.
Dealing in Stolen Property Penalties
The majority of Dealing in Stolen Property charges result when a person pawns items belonging to another person, perhaps even a friend or family member. The crime is also sometimes called “trafficking in stolen property.” Unfortunately, this crime tends to fall disproportionately on the poor, and the penalties are extremely harsh. As an example, if you pawn a $30 necklace, you will face the same penalties as if you pawn a $40,000 necklace—a maximum of $10,000 in fines, up to fifteen years of probation and up to fifteen years in prison.
Taking Your Right to Remain Silent Seriously
If you are arrested for Dealing in Stolen Property, it is extremely important that you don’t attempt to “explain your way out of it.” Later, what you said could be misquoted, or taken out of context to discredit you and obtain a conviction. You may feel that you should explain to the police how you came to have the stolen goods. Unfortunately, the more you talk, the more likely you are to find yourself with a conviction for Dealing in Stolen Property. Take your right to remain silent seriously. Always ask to speak to a criminal lawyer before you talk with any law enforcement officer. Then contact an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Receiving Stolen Property
It is important to note that receiving stolen property is not a crime which can be charged under the Statute for Dealing in Stolen Property. By its very definition, “dealing” means to “sell, transfer, distribute, dispense, or otherwise dispose of property.” In other words, assume you purchase four tires from a friend. You know—or should have known—that your friend actually stole the tires from someone else. You put the tires on your car and drive your car. These acts cannot be construed as dealing in stolen property, because the tires were used for your own purposes.
Using the Internet to Deal in Stolen Property
Under Florida Statutes, Section 812.0195, if you use the Internet to sell an item you knew or should have known was stolen, you could face a second-degree misdemeanor, a first-degree misdemeanor or a third-degree felony, based on the value of the property you were selling or sold. You could potentially face a second-degree misdemeanor if the value of the items you are selling on the Internet is less than $300, and, if convicted, you could face up to 60 days in jail. If the stolen items you are selling on the Internet are valued at more than $300, and, if you are convicted of the offense, you could be sentenced to up to a year in jail.
Getting the Help You Need from a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested for Dealing in Stolen Property, call The Law Place as soon as possible. Our criminal defense attorney will work hard to minimize the consequences of your charges. When possible, we will have the charges reduced or dropped. If that is not an option, we will negotiate lesser penalties to your offense. Don’t try to handle these charges on your own—the penalties are simply too harsh to leave your future to chance. Contact a criminal defense attorney from The Law Place today by calling 941-444-4444.