Can You Be Arrested for Possessing Stolen Property?

Possession of stolen goods is a crime in which a person has bought, been gifted, or somehow acquired stolen goods without having stolen the goods themselves. Under federal law, receipt of stolen property is a federal crime. However, the individual must have known he or she was receiving, concealed, or disposed of stolen property with a value of at least $5,000 and involved transporting the goods across state lines.

State laws also prosecute possession of stolen property. Under Florida law, dealing in stolen property happens when a person sells, transfers, distributes, or disposes of stolen goods knowing the object(s) are stolen. Like a federal trial, the prosecutors in Florida must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • The accused trafficked in or endeavored to traffic in the stolen goods
  • The accused knew or should have known the goods were stolen

If you are charged with dealing in stolen property, it is classified as a 2nd-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, or 15 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine. The charge can be upgraded to a 1st-degree felony, which could get you up to 30 years in prison if you initiated, organized, planned, financed, directed, or supervised the theft and trafficked in the property. Under these charges, you could be arrested for possession of the stolen goods.

However, what if you didn’t know the goods were stolen? There is a Florida statute which states that the possession of the recently stolen property, unless given a satisfactory explanation, will lead to an inference that the possessor knew or should have known the property was stolen. If you are suspected under this statute, you can be arrested. This assumption can lead to an arrest, but the prosecutor still has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an actual crime was committed.

If you were arrested by mistake, don’t let yourself be penalized by someone else’s crime. Contact one of our Florida criminal defense attorneys today. Our lawyers can provide an aggressive defense focusing on the strengths of your case while exploiting the weaknesses of the prosecution. We also provide excellent services that include informing you about the status of your case. A 2nd-degree felony could ruin your life. Contact us to schedule a free case consultation.

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