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Possession of Stolen Property in Sarasota, Florida

Musca Lawyers Represent Wrongful Accusations of Theft in Florida! 

Florida Law divides theft and possession of stolen property into multiple categories. Overall, different severity levels designate these crimes, and different penalties are established for the purpose of punishing people who steal items that do not belong to them. Officers of the law still define dealing in stolen property as the process of offering, selling, and/or trafficking property that the criminal fully knew to be stolen (or previously stolen). 

For more information, get in touch with our office in Sarasota, Florida at (941) 909-3234 to speak with an experienced attorney today. 

Backlash for Dealing in Stolen Property in Florida 

Overall, theft crimes of this nature can rank from misdemeanors to felonies in Florida, depending on the severity of the crime.

Here are some more details about crimes that are labeled as felonies in the State of Florida: 

  • 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, punishable by a 30-year prison sentence, and/or a fine of $10,000. 

Even if people are charged for theft and dealing in stolen property, the court may only charge a defendant with one offense or the other. Both options are rarely considered in a court of law. 

Defining the Aspects of Dealing in Stolen Property in Sarasota 

Here is a closer look at some important terms outlined in Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.012, so you can gain a stronger understanding for the laws set in place for the possession of stolen property in Sarasota: 

  • Cargo: shipments (partial/entire), containers, or boxes containing property of some nature that are 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).

Punishment for Dealing in Stolen Property in Florida 

Legal officials consider the possession of stolen property as a transaction of goods/services that occurs in the process of a theft. Here are some more details about the laws governing this particular type of crime, as shown in Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.14

As shown in Chapter 812.14 (1)(a-b), a person commits an act of theft if he/she takes or attempts to take (and use) property owned by another person for the purpose of: 

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

Depending on the value of the property in question, certain laws will apply to the crime. Under Chapter 812.14 (2)(a), any person who commits a crime of this nature will be charged with a 1st-degree felony, only if the following criteria have been set in motion: 

  • The stolen property has a value of $100,000 or more.
  • The property has a value of $50,000 or more and is part of an interstate commerce stream from shipper’s platform to 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. 

As listed in Florida Statutes Chapters 775.083 and 775.084, people who are facing charges of a 1st-degree felony can face life imprisonment and will be ordered to pay a $10,000 to $15,000 fine. 

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

Punishment for the Possession of Altered Property 

Ultimately, people who steal (or attempt to steal) property that has been altered and who should have been fully aware that someone had previously changed this property will be charged with a 1st-degree misdemeanor, resulting in a 1-year prison sentence, and a $1,000 fine. Please review Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.16 for more details about this crime. 

Punishment for Trafficking Stolen Property in Florida 

As part of Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.19, any person who traffics stolen property (or makes any attempt to do so) and is fully aware that this property had previously been stolen will be charged with a 2nd-degree felony, punishable by a 30-year prison sentence, and/or a $10,000 fine. 

Likewise, Chapter 812.19 of the Florida Statutes explains that anyone who participates as the organizer or supervisor for trafficking practices (or any attempts at one or more of these practices) will be charged with a 1st-degree felony, punishable by a life-term prison sentence, and/or a $10,000-$15,000 fine. 

How Are Criminals Punished for Trafficking Property on the Internet? 

As dictated in Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.0195, people who take part in the trafficking of stolen property via an Internet source (e.g. website) will face one of two forms of punishment, depending on the severity of the crime and the overall value of the property involved: 

  • 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. 

Legal Officials’ Steps for Identifying Evidence of Trafficking in Florida 

To prove that a person or a group of people have been trafficking stolen property (or have attempted to do so), legal officials must consider several elements prior to reaching a final decision about the crime, as shown in Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.22 (1-5): 

  • 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. 

Punishment for Theft and Possession of Stolen Property 

In accordance with Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.025 (not contradicting with additional state laws of Florida), a defendant can be charged by means of one indictment or a single shred of evidence with a theft crime (for the trafficking of stolen property) as part of a single scheme. Both charges cannot be issued at once. 

NOTE: Exceptions for Valid Defenses in Trafficking Cases 

On the grounds of defense in court, the prosecution 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 (under Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.028): 

  • 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.

Important Facts about Supplemental Trafficking Fines in Florida 

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

Details about Valid Theft Cases in Florida 

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 (temporary or permanent means) strove to steal the victim’s right to his/her property and any benefits that are attached to it or use this property for the purpose of entitlement. 

On that note, any person who discovers stolen property and does not report the loss of this property can be charged with theft (under similar counts). Please review Florida Statute Chapter 705.102 for more details. 

On the defense on the grounds of theft, if the defendant can prove (without any shred of doubt) that he/she believes that he/she was allowed to handle the property linked to the crime, the defendant can use this information as a viable defense in court. 

Details about Theft Cases: 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 this property was previously stolen or should have been fully aware of this vital information. 

If the jury measures simultaneous theft and trafficking, they must follow special steps to determine multiple or single charges. 

Details about Theft Cases: 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, funding, orchestration, and management of all aspects of this criminal operation (regarding the theft of the property associated with the crime).
  • Was responsible for trafficking this property. 

For the application of FS Chapter 812.022 (1-6), the jury can refer to specific inferences concerning the severity and frequency of trafficking activity. 

Details about Cases Involving Invalid Verification/Identification to Pawnbrokers 

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 edited ID concerning the ownership of this property. 
  • Had gotten money from the pawnbroker after the completion of a transaction surrounding the sale of property. 

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

Get Musca Law on Your Side! 

Charges for dealing in stolen property are especially serious, especially if the crime in question is particularly large-scale. Hefty fines and long-term prison sentences are just the tip of the iceberg for defendants, as their reputations will be permanently scarred by such consequences. With the help of a lawyer at Musca Law, you can determine what can be done to save you. Our combined 150+ years of experience is guaranteed to win. 




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