Dealing in Stolen Property
Maybe more than any other theft related crime, dealing in stolen property charges are based on conduct performed with no criminal intent. Quite often an individual will buy an item or several items thinking they are simply getting a great deal with an intent of selling them on eBay or Craigslist. Maybe the person isn’t a skeptic, maybe they aren’t educated, or maybe they aren’t thinking twice about the fact that they could be purchasing stolen items. When this happens and the police have probable cause to believe you knew or should have known the items were stolen, you will likely be charged with the theft crime of dealing in stolen property. Each criminal attorney at The Mayberry Law Firm is aware of the mistakes made by law enforcement with respect to this kind of charge. Countless clients have sat in our office, devastated by a criminal charge for innocent conduct. In those times we’ve had an excellent success rate convincing the State Attorney’s office to drop unfounded charges or in situations where that is not an option we’ve often been able to negotiate a reduced charge allowing entry into a diversion program so as to avoid long term devastation to our clients.
This offense can be found at Florida Statute 812.019. Any person who traffics in, or endeavors to traffic in, property that he or she knows or should know was stolen is guilty of a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in the Florida Department of Corrections and a $10,000 fine. Any person who initiates, organizes, plans, finances, directs, manages, or supervises the theft of property and traffics in such stolen property shall be guilty of a felony of the first degree, punishable by up to 30 years in the Florida Department of Corrections and a $10,000 fine. Florida Statute 812.02(8)(a) defines “traffic” as, to sell, transfer, distribute, dispense, or otherwise dispose of property. Subsection (b) defines “traffic” as, to buy, receive, possess, obtain control of, or use property with the intent to sell, transfer, distribute, dispense, or otherwise dispose of such property.
Clearly the statute was aimed at larger scale operations where one is actively running a business by purchasing stolen property and then selling that property for a profit. The little old lady who supplements her retirement through an eBay store is likely not the perpetrator the police had in mind. It is situations like this where people find themselves staring down the barrel of the State Attorney’s Office. Making the wrong move could end in a conviction for dealing in stolen property, a felony crime of dishonesty, for something where you had the best of intentions. Each Tampa criminal lawyer in our firm is experienced in dealing with allegations of this nature. We’ve represented those who were truly guilty of the crime and have helped them mitigate their damages. Our attorneys have also represented those wrongly accused where there is no wrongdoing. In both situations we’ve achieved excellent results for our clients and allowed them to carry on with their lives after the dust settled. If you’ve been charged with a crime in Tampa, call us at 813-444-7435 before you speak to the police. We’ll fight for you, they won’t.