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Al's Legal Corner - Did You Know?

Question: What is Dealing in Stolen Property?

Answer: The definition of Dealing in Stolen Property is contained in Florida Statute812.019. Under the law, the offense occurs where a person sells, transfers, distributes, or otherwise disposes of stolen property knowing or having reason to know that the property is in fact stolen.

The offense is a 2nd Degree Felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison or up to 15 years of probation, and up to $10,000 in fines. Of course, Dealing in Stolen Property may be upgraded to a 1st Degree Felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison, where a person initiates, organizes, plans, finances, directs, manages, or supervises the theft of property, and then traffics in such stolen property.

To prove the crime of Dealing in Stolen Property at trial, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant trafficked in or endeavored to traffic in the alleged property, as well as that the Defendant knew or should have known that the alleged property was in fact stolen. The "should have known" language is very important, as it helps to keep the lesser IQ crowd from claiming ignorance as an absolute defense.

The term “property” means anything of value, and includes real property (including things growing on, fixed to and found on land), as well as tangible or intangible personal property, including rights, privileges, interests, claims, and services. “Stolen property” means property that has been the subject of any criminally wrongful taking, or, if the property has not been stolen, that it was offered for sale to Defendant as stolen property. The terms “Traffic” or “Trafficking” in stolen property means that the Defendant sold, transferred, distributed, dispensed, or otherwise disposed of property. It can also mean the buying, selling, receiving, possessing, obtaining control of, or use of property with the intent to sell, transfer, distribute, dispense, or otherwise dispose of that property.

Defenses to such include a lack of knowledge that the item had previously been stolen; Pawning items at the request of another person, without knowledge of the origin of the items; Property not “trafficked” within the meaning of the statute; Property not stolen; Mistaken belief as to right to dispose of the property; Satisfactory explanation to rebut inferences of ‘knowledge'; Belief that property was abandoned or gifted; Mistaken identity as to the property; False claims to ownership by the alleged victim; and a lack of evidence that the property was stolen.

Simply put, stick to your own belongings when selling items. However, if you find yourself in a situation where Dealing in Stolen Property is alleged, you need someone who exclusively handles Criminal Defense. We are only digits away, 24/7, so call now!