An individual’s right to keep their property is protected by law, and those who try to steal another person’s property face harsh punishment for doing so. Because of the law’s emphasis on protecting people’s property, Florida criminal laws defines numerous theft-related crimes. One such offense is dealing in stolen property, which is a second-degree felony, punishable up to 15 years in State Prison.
Those convicted of dealing in stolen property face a long prison sentence and steep fines. Someone convicted of such a serious crime will also have to deal with the consequences of having a felony record, including limited employment opportunities in the future.
If you are facing such a charge, call a West Palm Beach stolen property lawyer today. A distinguished theft attorney can defend you against the charge, and any related theft charges you may also face.
Dealing in Stolen Property
According to Florida Statutes Section 812.019 defines dealing in stolen property as: trafficking in, or endeavoring to traffic in, property that the accused knows or should know was stolen. There are multiple elements to this crime that a prosecutor must prove in order to convict a person accused of this crime.
The first is trafficking which essentially means selling, distributing, or otherwise disposing of property. The next element is stolen property or any property that was unlawfully taken from its rightful owner.
Proof That The Accused Knew That the Property Was Stolen
Finally, prosecutors must prove that the accused knew or should have known that the property was stolen. What does it mean that the defendant should have known that property was stolen? This means that based on the facts and circumstances, the defendant had enough information to know or should have known that the property had been stolen.
A classic example is when someone goes to a pawn shop and presents stolen merchandise or property for sale/pawn. The person offering the property is dealing in stolen property and also committing the crime of False Representation of Ownership.
Penalties upon Conviction
Because dealing in stolen property is a second-degree felony, those convicted could face years in prison. Penalties for this crime include:
- Up to 15 years in prison
- Felony conviction
- Up to 15 years of probation
- A maximum fine of $10,000
- Court costs
Related Theft Charges
Those facing a dealing in stolen property charge may also face other, related charges such as theft. Police often assume that the person accused of possessing stolen property was the same person who actually stole that property.
Depending on the value of the items in questions, a related theft charge could range from misdemeanor petit theft to felony grand theft. In such cases, the accused may face consolidated charges, meaning they could stand trial for both crimes together. A West Palm Beach stolen property lawyer can defend individuals against consolidated charges.
Other Charges Related to Stolen Property
In addition to petit theft and grand theft, other charges related to dealing in stolen property include:
- Possession of altered property: dealing in property when the dealer knows or should have known, that the serial number or other identifying features had been removed or altered without the consent of the manufacturer; first-degree misdemeanor
- Dealing in stolen property by use of the Internet: using the Internet, such as social media or Craigslist, to commit dealing in stolen property as defined above; ranges from a second-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, depending on the value of the property
- False verification of ownership: Signing a form in the pawn shop swearing that the individual pawning the item is the lawful owner of the property about to be pawned or sold
Speak with a West Palm Beach Stolen Property Attorney
If you or a loved one have been charged with dealing in stolen property, call a West Palm Beach stolen property lawyer today for help. Your theft attorney will examine all aspects of your case and advise you of your legal options going forward. Work with a qualified theft attorney that can devote the time and resources necessary to crafting your defense.