Dealing in Stolen Property
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Dealing in stolen property, also known as bootlegging or trafficking in stolen property, takes many forms. Many of us have come across a person selling unauthorized copies of DVDs, designer knockoffs, or we have seen movies where a clever thief sells clothes out of the back of a truck.
What many of us do not know is that dealing in stolen property is a serious felony offense that can subject a person to years in prison. Moreover, it is important to know that someone who knowingly purchases stolen property may be subject to criminal charges as well.
If you or someone you know has been charged with fencing, otherwise known as bootlegging or dealing in stolen property, then call an experienced criminal defense attorney at Hubbs Law Firm for more information about how to build a defense against these charges. Also, find out more about the similar offense of failing to return personal property under Florida law.
E.J. and Erika Hubbs take cases throughout Miami-Dade County, in cities like Coral Gables, South Miami, Pinecrest, Dadeland, Kendall, The Crossings, and Palmetto Bay.
Call (305) 376-7178 now to schedule an appointment to speak one-on-one with our Miami property crime attorneys.
Elements of Dealing in Stolen Property Charges
For an individual to be found guilty of dealing in stolen property the prosecution must show, beyond a reasonable doubt, the following:
- The defendant trafficked in or attempted to traffic in property allegedly stolen; and
- The defendant knew or should have known that the alleged property was stolen.
In addition, under Florida law, any person who organizes, initiates, plans, directs, supervises, manages, or finances the theft of property and traffics in such stolen property is guilty of a first-degree felony.
Inferences of Dealing in Stolen Property
Under Florida law, certain factual circumstances give rise to inferences of knowledge that the jury may use during deliberations.
The following are situations that give rise to inferences:
- Proof of recently stolen property—if it is not satisfactorily explained, it gives rise to the inference that the person in possession of the property knew or should have known that it was stolen
- Proof of the purchase or sale of stolen property by a dealer in property, out of the regular course of business or without the usual indications of ownership gives rise to an inference that the person buying or selling the property knew or should have known that it had been stolen
- Proof that a dealer who regularly deals in used property possesses stolen property, upon which a name and phone number of a person other than the offeror of the property are obviously displayed, gives rises to an inference that the dealer possessing the property knew or should have known that it was stolen
- Proof that a person was in possession of a stolen motor vehicle and that the ignition mechanism of the motor vehicle had been bypassed, or the steering wheel locking mechanism had been broken, gives rise to an inference that the person in possession of the stolen motor vehicle knew or should have known that the motor vehicle had been stolen
Unless properly and sufficiently explained, each of these situations gives rise to an inference that the defendant knew or should have known that the property was stolen.
Penalties for Dealing in Stolen Property in Florida
In Miami-Dade County, any person who is caught and convicted of dealing in stolen property may be charged with a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 fines.
Additionally, a person who is found guilty of organizing, financing, or planning dealings in stolen property is guilty of a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison and up to $10,000 fines.
Let Our Firm Fight for Your Rights
Despite the clichés in movies, dealing in stolen property is a very serious felony offense. Speaking to a criminal defense attorney can help you understand the charges and the inferences associated with being caught dealing in stolen property. Call Miami property crimes attorney E.J Hubbs to talk about your charges or get help for someone you know.
Call (305) 376-7178 now to schedule a free consultation.
- Florida Criminal Jury Instructions – Visit the Florida Supreme Court for the official jury instructions for dealing in stolen property charges. You can also find the jury instructions for theft, unlawful possession of a stolen credit card, and multiple other theft offenses.