Possession of Stolen Property Lawyers in Fort Lauderdale
Musca Law Provides Relentless Defense for Your Theft Crimes
A charge of stolen property in Fort Lauderdale is a very pressing charge, and the state will typically do everything in its power to see to it that justice is meted out. A large number of pawnshops are located in Broward County area making it very possible for someone who is not a criminal to wind up owning stolen property. This combined with the fact that theft is an extremely popular crime and Possession of Stolen Property ends up being a charge that we see quite often. A skilled and proficient criminal defense attorney is exactly the kind of person that you are going to need on your side if you discover that you are facing charges of Possession of Stolen Property. You will also most likely have questions such as:
- What kind of sentence am I looking at if I am convicted of Possession of Stolen Property?
- What steps will my stolen property attorney take to assist me out if I am charged with stolen property?
- What steps should a person take in the event that they end up being charged with breaking Florida’s laws pertaining to stolen property?
In Fort Lauderdale, Florida the crime of Possession of Stolen Property is legally defined as “the possession, or endeavor to possess, property, anything of value or anything tangible, that a person knows or should have known was stolen.” If you have recently been arrested and charged with the violation of the stolen property laws in Fort Lauderdale, Florida then we strongly urge you to hire an attorney who specializes in stolen property crimes if you wish to circumvent harsh legal repercussions. The crime of Possession of Stolen Property is classified as a felony of the second degree, as well as a level five offense according to Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code. Someone charged with Possession of Stolen Property could potentially be sentenced to harsh punishments should they be found guilty. Those punishments include but are not limited to:
- Incarceration for as long as 15 years
- Supervised probation for as long as 15 years
- As much as $10,000 in administrative fines
Any quality criminal defense attorney worth their salt will make good use of both trial and pre-trial defenses in an effort to vindicate any alleged offenders who have recently been accused of Possession of Stolen Property. It is the job of the state to show that the person who is being accused of Possession of Stolen Property is absolutely, 100%, beyond any and all reasonable doubt, guilty of the crime. It is the job of a criminal defense attorney to show that their client was absolutely, 100%, beyond any and all reasonable doubt, unaware of the fact that they had taken ownership of any form of stolen property. In the absence of an experienced attorney, establishing that fact is going to be very, very challenging.
The Possession of Stolen Property laws in the state of Florida is classified into various levels of offense. Grand theft is considered to have taken place when someone is found in possession of any single or cumulative amount of property that has been stolen and that are given a monetary value of $300 or greater. Being found in Possession of Stolen Property that is valued at less than $300 is considered to be a crime in the petit theft category, a crime for which the offender will most likely face a first-degree misdemeanor charge. The sentences for a first-degree misdemeanor charge may include the offender spending time in a county jail for as long as one year.
If the person should happen to be a repeat offender for the crime of stolen property, then the sentences handed down by the court are probably going to be something far more serious. The well-known three-strike law that exists in most states in the U.S. is most frequently seen with those who are repeat offenders of Florida’s stolen property laws. Any offender who has been found guilty of any prior felony convictions inside of a five-year window from the date of their most current arrest could potentially receive a sentence that is double the regular sentencing that an offender who is being charged with their very first felony crime would receive.
A good Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney will endeavor to work with the prosecution to file a Notice of No Information. After the notice is filed, the Possession of Stolen Property charges that the alleged offender was arrested on will be thrown out entirely. An agreement to file a Notice of No Information is something that will be agreed upon by both sides if the criminal defense attorney is able to adequately demonstrate to the state the means by which the alleged offender came to be in possession of the stolen property and demonstrate that he or she had no knowledge, nor anyway of learning, that the property had been stolen. The law in Florida on this subject asserts that someone either knows or does not know that they are in possession of any stolen property. There is no third option here, no middle ground.
By retaining the representation of a criminal defense attorney as soon as they are able to, the alleged offender will have significantly higher odds of getting the prosecution to agree to lessen the charges or possibly even throw the case for Possession of Stolen Property out altogether.
If you or someone that you love has been charged with violating any of Florida’s stolen property laws, it is imperative that you do not go to court without a reputable Possession of Stolen Property criminal defense attorney by your side. Ideally, a criminal defense attorney who has had years of experience in successfully helping other clients who have also been charged with violating stolen property laws. It is in your best interest to hire a criminal defense attorney who is willing to examine all of the facts concerning your individual case and then assemble a well-crafted, personally tailored legal defense and a plan of action that will give you your greatest opportunity at getting your Possession of Stolen Property charges diminished or, hopefully, thrown out of court entirely.
Dealing in Fort Lauderdale Stolen Property
The crimes of Dealing in and Possession of Stolen Property is defined by Florida law as “any person who traffics in, (sells, fences) stolen property (hot property) while he or she knows or should have known that the property was stolen or acquired by criminal means.” Being convicted of Dealing in Stolen Property is classified as a felony of the second-degree. Any individual who is also the organizer, manager, director, supervisor or administrator of two or more people who are found to be guilty of Dealing in Stolen Property and is classified as a felony in the first degree.
The interesting thing that you may have noticed so far in regards to Florida’s Trafficking in Stolen Property crimes is that the punishments for trafficking in stolen property are often much more severe than the punishments that are meted out for the actual physical theft of the property. Law enforcement might not always get you for stealing every single time that you do it, but they are able to arrest you for the receipt and/or possession of property that has been stolen. For instance, selling stolen merchandise or goods or pawning them at one of Broward County’s numerous pawn shops can still cause you to be arrested and subsequently charged with trading in stolen property.
Moreover, according to Florida Statute 812.022 it is assumed unless otherwise adequately demonstrated, that someone who is found with newly stolen property in their possession understood or should have understood that the item or items were stolen. This particular law turns things upside down, as it moves the burden of proof from the state prosecutor where it normally lies over to the accused and his or her criminal defense attorney.
In addition to all of this, while operating within the confines of common law, which is a law that is inferred from judicial precedent and customs instead of statutes, it could be a viable defense under the theory of Legal impossibility that a person may not be charged with dealing or possession of stolen property if, in fact, the property was not stolen. According to Florida Statute 812.028, however, this legal tactic isn’t a viable defense. This is due to the fact that the statute permits law enforcement to engage in covert operations that are designed to catch people committing crimes (STING Operations) in order to verify property as having been stolen when it actually never was.
Legal Inferences in Stolen Property
A licensed and qualified criminal defense attorney in the Fort Lauderdale area of Florida will be able to explain to you the life-changing strength of your charges of Dealing in Stolen Property. This particular crime is classified as a felony of the second-degree. This degree of felony brings with it a maximum possible sentence of as long as 15 years in state prison. There are several different legal inferences that might come into play during these kinds of cases. A legal inference is a type of deductive reasoning wherein once one fact or set of facts is considered to be true, then any inferences or deductions that are derived from that set of facts must also, by nature, be true.
A criminal defense attorney who specializes in Dealing in/Possession of Stolen Property here in Broward County will also be able to show you that these inferences are generally able to be swiftly invalidated by a well-crafted defense and a shrewd legal team.
Some of the more popular legal inferences that may be challenged by your possession of stolen property attorney include but are not limited to:
Possession of Recently Stolen Property
If the alleged offender is found in possession of the newly stolen property, it is deemed a valid legal inference that she or he was fully aware that the property was stolen.
Purchase Below Fair Market Value
Purchasing an item for a cost that is considerably less than the fair market value is likely to support the inference that the alleged offender had full knowledge or reason to suspect that the item had been stolen.
Absence of Documents Proving Ownership
If the alleged offender who was in possession of the stolen property is the owner of a business that regularly sells or buys that particular type of property (for example; a pawnshop owner regularly purchases jewelry), this is enough to support the inference that the offender had full knowledge that the item was stolen property. This is especially true if she or he is not also in possession of any documents that prove ownership that would typically be retained and recorded in the normal course of their business.
Modified Steering Wheel or Ignition
Being found in possession of a motor vehicle where the steering wheel locking mechanism has been bypassed or broken or the ignition has been modified will also be sufficient to raise a valid legal inference.
Defending Yourself Against Charges of Dealing in Stolen Property
Despite the fact that these legal inferences could arise, an accomplished Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney will be able to refute them. She or he might be able to adequately demonstrate why they were in possession of the stolen property in a way that does not involve their participation in any criminal activity. An attorney will be able to examine the various nuances of your individual case and decide which legal defenses will be viable to use in court and have the highest chance of seeing you through to a positive outcome.
Dealing in Stolen Property and the Double Jeopardy Defense Issue
In the event that an alleged offender is charged with both Dealing in Stolen Property and theft at the same time for one particular occurrence, and the alleged offender does NOT bring up the law under Florida Statute 812.025 which permits the offender to be charged with both crimes but only be convicted of one, the appropriate course of action is for the court to throw out the lesser of the two charges. In this case that would be the charge for theft.
If you or someone that you love has been charged with Possession of Stolen Property or Dealing in Stolen Property then your best bet for not serving a long stretch in state prison, paying exorbitant administrative fines, and being put on supervised probation is to hire a reputable criminal defense attorney who has been successfully handling theft crimes cases for decades. Don’t leave your future in the hands of a determined state prosecutor who has a quota to meet.
Give our Fort Lauderdale law offices a call today at (954) 302-5391 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation appointment with one of our experienced attorneys!