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Possession of Stolen Property in Naples, Florida 

Musca Law Defends Theft Crimes in Florida 

Florida law outlines stolen property in multiple sections of its legal Statutes. Ultimately, people can commit these crimes at a variety of different levels, and different penalties are given as punishment for those who steal what is not rightfully theirs. Regardless of the severity of a crime and the nature of the subsequent charges, legal officials still recognize dealing in stolen property as the process of offering, selling, or trafficking property which the offender fully knew to be stolen. 

For more information, call (239) 793-5297 to speak to a representative at our office in Naples, Florida. 

The Repercussions for Possession of Stolen Property 

Depending on the value of the item and the nature of the crime, utilizing an Internet source to deal with stolen property may be ranked anywhere from a misdemeanor to a felony. 

For example, here is a closer look at crimes that are labeled as felonies: 

  • Trafficking or attempting to traffic stolen property constitutes a 2nd-degree felony, punishable by a 15-year prison sentence and/or a $10,000 fine. 
  • The organization, operation, management, direction, or financing of a trafficking operation dealing in stolen property constitutes a 1st-degree felony, punishable by a 30-year prison sentence and/or a fine of $10,000. 

While people may be charged for theft and dealing in stolen property, a defendant may only be charged with one offense or the other. Both options are rarely considered. 

Defining the Aspects of Possession of Stolen Property 

To gain a stronger understanding for the laws set in place for the possession of stolen property in the State of Florida, here is a closer look at some important terms outlined in Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.012

  • Cargo: shipments (partial/entire), containers, or boxes containing property of some nature that is transported via vehicle (e.g. airplane or truck) at locations like freight stations.
  • Dealer in property: people who work in the dealing/sale of property. 
  • Obtains or uses: a variety of activities that may include control over property, illegal transference/sale of property, or obtaining property through fraudulent activity.
  • Property: objects/items of value. 
  • Property of another: objects that people cannot infringe upon or take without the permission and consent of the owner(s)  
  • Stolen property: objects that have been at the center of criminal activities. 
  • Traffic: generalized term for selling, transferring, buying, and/or controlling property (with the culprit’s intent to sell this property).

Charges for Committing Theft in Florida 

Consider the fact that legal officials consider the possession of stolen property as a transaction of goods/services that has taken place due to theft. Here is a closer look at laws governing this offense, as dictated by Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.14

Chapter 812.14(1)(a-b) dictates that any person commits a theft if he/she uses or attempts to use property that another person owns for the purpose of: 

  • Keeping this owner from reaping the benefits of his/her property
  • Preventing the owner from claiming any rights to his/her property 
  • Using this same property to his/her advantage or for another person’s advantage (in the event that this same person also doesn’t wield control over this property) 

Depending on the value and price of the property, different laws may apply. Chapter 812.14(2)(a) dictates that any person who commits an offense will potentially face charges of a 1st-degree felony, given that the following circumstances have come into play: 

  • The stolen property has a value of $100,000 or more (or is owned and supervised by law enforcement officials). 
  • The property has a value of $50,000 or more and is part of an interstate commerce stream from the shipper’s platform to a loading dock. 
  • The offender committed an act of grand theft. 
  • The offender used a motor vehicle as part of the theft, besides the obvious use of a getaway vehicle. 
  • The offender inflicted $1,000 or greater costs of damage on the property while the crime was being committed. 

Under Chapter 775.083 and 775.084 of the Florida Statutes, people who have been charged with a 1st-degree felony will potentially be imprisoned for life and be forced to pay a $10,000 to $15,000 fine. 

Please review Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.014 for more information about charges for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-degree grand theft. 

Charges for the Possession of Altered Property 

As dictated by Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.16 (as part of the subcategory of theft), any person who possesses (or attempts to obtain) altered property and should have been fully aware that this property had been wrongfully edited (e.g. removal of serial numbers) will face charges of a 1st-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a 1-year prison sentence and/or a fine of $1,000. 

Charges for the Trafficking of Stolen Property 

Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.19 dictates that any person who traffics stolen property (or attempts to do so) and knows this property was definitely stolen will face charges of a 2nd-degree felony, punishable by a 30-year prison sentence and/or a $10,000 fine. 

Furthermore, Chapter 812.19 dictates that the organization or supervision of trafficking (or any attempt at trafficking this property) will result in charges of a 1st-degree felony, punishable by a life-term prison sentence and/or a $10,000-$15,000 fine. 

Charges for Dealing in Stolen Property on the Internet 

Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.0195 dictates that any person who traffics stolen property through an Internet route will be punished in one of two different ways, depending on the value of the property and the nature of the crime:

  • For property that is valued at $300 or less, culprits will face charges of a 2nd-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a 60-day prison sentence and/or a $500 fine. 
  • For property that is valued at any amount greater than $300, culprits will face charges of a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a 5-year prison sentence and/or a $5,000 fine. 

How Legal Officials Identify Evidence of Trafficking Stolen Property 

To prove a person (or group) has been trafficking stolen property (or attempted to do so), legal officials must consider several elements prior to reaching a final decision about the crime. As dictated by Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.22 (1-5), these factors are featured as proof of trafficking:

  • The perpetrator presented a false ID (or another form of identification) that has not been updated with the most recent name, address, employment information, and additional factors in association of leasing property.
  • The culprit did not return any materials associated with the crime in the window of 72 hours.  
  • Possession of property that was stolen on the grounds that the culprit(s) was fully aware that the property in his/her possession had (at some point) been stolen.
  • Any sale of this property at a price below the established market values.
  • Dealing in property outside legal business circles (without the presentation of information concerning the identity of the original owner). 
  • Dealing in the stolen property through the use and presentation of a false ID.

Note: These laws do not apply to pieces of property devoid of serial numbers and do not include computer games, video games, or additional computer software. 

What Are the Charges for Theft and Possession of Stolen Property in Florida?

Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.025 dictates that (not contradicting with additional state laws of Florida) one indictment or single piece of information can charge a culprit with a theft crime and the trafficking of stolen property as part of a single scheme. Both charges cannot be issued at once.  

What Are the Exceptions to Valid Defenses for the Possession of Stolen Property? 

As dictated in Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.028 (on the grounds of defense in court), an offender and his/her legal representative may not pursue a defense for the prosecution on the grounds of the following elements (for the count of possession of stolen property):

  • Form of deception involving the association of an undercover agent 
  • Opportunities to break Florida Laws concerning theft (FS 812.021)
  • Property offered (explicitly) as a piece of stolen property 
  • Soliciting (through the action of a police officer) of a person to participate in trafficking stolen property in Florida 

A Closer Look at Supplemental Fines Attached to Trafficking Charges 

Florida State Title XLVI Chapter 812.032 dictates that people who have stolen or obtained any valuable property and who have been declared “guilty” for injuring victims, damaging property, or holding responsibility for additional losses (on the grounds of state law) should only be fined 2 times more than the value of the property. This fine will also include any expenses on behalf of the prosecution and the investigation overall. 

Reaching a Verdict for a Valid Theft Case 

Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.014 and Criminal Jury Case 14.1 outline the instructions for reaching a verdict on the grounds of theft. By these rulings, all members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that the defendant: 

  • Intentionally and willing obtained (or attempted to use) property that is rightfully owned by the victim(s). 
  • Intentionally and willingly (by temporary or permanent means) strove to deprive the victim(s) of his/her property and any benefits that are attached to this property or use this property for the purpose of entitlement. 

Florida Statute Chapter 705.102 dictates that any person who discovers stolen property and does not report the loss of this property can be charged with theft (under similar counts). 

On the defense on the grounds of theft, if the defendant can prove (without any shred of doubt) that he/she sincerely and honestly believed that he/she was legally permitted to own/possess the property linked to the crime, the defendant can use this information as a viable defense in court. 

Reaching a Verdict for a Valid Theft Case: Dealing in Stolen Property (Fencing)

Florida Statutes Title XLVI Chapter 812.019 and Criminal Jury Case 14.2 outline the instructions which must be respected and upheld in a theft case concerning fencing. By these rulings, all members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that the defendant: 

  • Trafficked or attempted to traffic the property connected to the crime. 
  • Had been fully aware that this property was previously stolen or should have been fully aware of this vital information. 

If the jury faces information concerning charges for simultaneous theft and trafficking, they must pursue special steps to determine multiple or single charges. 

Reaching a Verdict for a Case for Dealing in Stolen Property (Organizing)

Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.019(2) and instructions highlighted in Criminal Jury Case 14.3 outline the instructions which must be respected and upheld in a theft case concerning organizing. By these rulings, all court members must prove (without any shred of doubt) that the defendant: 

  • Was responsible for the organization, planning, financing, directing, and management of all aspects of this theft operation (regarding the theft of the property associated with the crime). 
  • Was responsible for trafficking this property. 

If FS Chapter 812.022 (1-6) applies, the jury can refer to specific inferences concerning the frequency of trafficking activity and the nature of the crime. 

Reaching a Verdict of a Valid False Verification/Identification to Pawnbrokers Case 

Florida Statutes Title XLVI Chapter 593.001(8)(b)8 and instructions provided in Criminal Jury Case 14.7 dictate that members of a court should prove (without any shred of doubt) that the defendant:  

  • Sold/offered this property to a pawnbroker. 
  • Intentionally and willingly presented a fake or altered ID concerning the ownership of this property. 
  • Received money from the pawnbroker (in question) after completing a transaction surrounding the sale of the property. 

If the court determines that the defendant is “guilty,” they must determine if the monetary value was $300 or greater. 

Arm Yourself with the 150+ Years of Musca Law Experience! 

Accusations of dealing in stolen property can lead to potentially serious charges, depending on the nature of the crime that has taken place. From hefty fines to long-term prison sentences, you will suffer severe consequences for crimes you may not have committed, and you have every reason to defend your rights as a Florida citizen. With the help of a defense lawyer at Musca Law, you can determine what can be done to prove you weren’t involved and take steps to regain your freedom. With over 150 years of combined legal experience, our team of attorneys are equipped with the experience and skills to be able to defend your rights effectively and strategically. Call our Naples office today at (239) 793-5297 to schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation with one of our skilled criminal defense attorneys.

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