Possession of stolen property is a serious offense in Florida. Depending on the specific charges against you, you may face a felony that can send you to prison for years. Fortunately, there are a number of viable defenses available if you’re facing this charge:
You Didn’t Know the Property Was Stolen
For a jury to convict you of possessing stolen property, the state’s attorney has to prove that you knew the property was stolen. Juries usually want to see a high level of proof. What might seem obvious to a law enforcement officer might not be so clear to a jury. If the jury isn’t sure you knew it was stolen property, they may not convict you.
You may have taken something back that someone stole from you. You may be in a situation where there’s a disagreement as to ownership of an item. When there’s a legitimate disagreement as to ownership, the case might be more appropriate for a civil court than for a jury. It’s up to the state to prove that you didn’t own the item in question.
It Wasn’t In Your Possession
For you to receive a conviction for possessing stolen property, the property must be in your possession. There’s a legal definition for possession, and it generally means that the property is within your dominion or control. For example, if law enforcement finds the item in a vehicle with multiple occupants, there might be a valid question as to who has possession of the item.
The Property Wasn’t Stolen
You may have thought that you had permission to use the item. If someone lends you an item and then accuses you of stealing it, you may have a valid defense to the charges against you. An item isn’t stolen if you’re using it on loan with permission of the owner.
Alternatively, a previous owner of the item may have sold it. Then, they accuse you of stealing the property in an effort to reclaim the item after getting paid for it. In this scenario, you likely have a valid defense to the charges against you.
Work with Us
At Musca Law, we have years of experience representing deserving clients in all levels of Florida courts. Whatever the charges against you, our Florida criminal defense attorneys aggressively examine your case for all viable defenses. Consider us your advocate and your teammate. If you need help with a criminal matter, we invite you to contact Musca Law today for a confidential consultation with one of our attorneys.
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