In the state of Florida theft by receiving, or dealing with stolen property is a serious crime. You could receive considerable prison time for dealing with stolen goods even if you didn’t actually commit theft. Under Florida law, it is indicated that if you sell, traffic, distribute, or move property that you know, or reasonably should know, is stolen then you could be charged with dealing with stolen property. This is a severe offense that that could lead to up to 15 years in prison. Let’s discuss the specifics of this charge as well as possible defense scenarios.
Burden of the Prosecution
As usual, the burden is on the prosecution to prove guilt. Some questions a prosecutor may focus on include:
- Within reasonable limits, should the person have been aware that the goods were stolen?
- Did the accused purchase items well below fair market value?
- In the event of a vehicle theft, was the starting mechanism bypassed thus proving that the item was stolen?
- Did a professional dealer purchase an item that had a person’s name on the property that was not the name of the person offering it?
These types of questions are intended to focus on whether or not a reasonable person would be able to determine a theft. It is considered a crime if you take advantage of criminal activity for your own personal gain.
Possible Defense Options
Just because you are accused of a crime does not mean that you are guilty. In fact, numerous innocent people have been charged with crimes that they did not commit. If you are accused of dealing with stolen property, there are defense options. Potential defense strategies include:
- The item was never stolen
- No knowledge of a theft
- The item was gifted
- Misunderstanding about property ownership
Sometimes it really comes down to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Don’t allow your rights to be railroaded simply because you are accused of something that you did not do. You have a right to have your day in court—take it.
Potential Outcomes in Court
Dealing with stolen property is classified as a second-degree felony under Florida law. The punishment for this crime could be:
- 15 years in prison
- 15 years of probation
- $10,000 in fines
However, if it is proven that the person planned the theft or otherwise had more involvement in the process, then the charge could be upgraded to a first-degree felony which could lead to 30 years in prison.
Criminal Defense Attorney in West Palm Beach, Florida
Criminal defense attorney Scott Skier is located in West Palm Beach, Florida. He has vast experience working with a variety of criminal cases, and he is happy to assist you with your legal matter. Whether you are facing charges of theft by receiving or are being accused of another crime, he can help you. Make sure your rights are protected. Contact Attorney Skier today for a free consultation.