Dealing in Stolen Property Attorney in Tampa, FL
If you have been charged with dealing in stolen property, also known as fencing, you are facing serious penalties. This is one of the most serious theft crimes on the books, and an aggressive defense requires the help of an experienced defense attorney.
If you or a loved one are facing dealing with stolen property charges in the Tampa, FL, area, call Armando Edmiston, an experienced Tampa dealing with stolen property criminal defense lawyer, today.
Dealing in Stolen Property: Definition in Tampa, FL
It is a crime in Florida to traffic in property you know or should know is stolen. Trafficking is defined as selling property or buying it with intent to resell it. Dealing in stolen property is a second-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. Organizing, planning, financing, directing, managing or supervising the theft of property and then dealing in it, meanwhile, is a first-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 30 years and a mandatory minimum sentence of 21 months. Florida also makes it a crime to deal in stolen property via the Internet. Using the Internet to sell property you know or have reasonable cause to believe is stolen is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by as many as 60 days in jail if the property is worth less than $300 or a third-degree felony punishable by as many as five years in prison if the property is worth $300 or more.
Dealing in Stolen Property: Presumptions in Tampa, FL
Courts presume a defendant knows or should know property is stolen in a number of situations. Possession of recently stolen property, for example, gives rise to a presumption a defendant knows or should know the property is stolen. The same is true when a defendant buys or sells stolen property at a price substantially below its fair market value, or when a defendant who routinely buys and sells property buys or sells stolen property outside the regular course of business. A similar presumption arises when a defendant who routinely deals in used property possesses stolen property bearing the name and phone number of someone other than the seller or when a person possesses an automobile and its ignition mechanism or steering-wheel locking mechanism has been bypassed.
Dealing in Stolen Property: Entrapment Defense in Tampa, FL
Florida law bars the use of most entrapment arguments as a defense to dealing in stolen property. Defendants in these cases can always argue entrapment if police solicit them to commit crimes using tactics that would induce ordinary law-abiding persons to break the law. But short of that, the fact that police use undercover stings and inducements to fence stolen property are no defense. It is not even a defense that the property in question was not actually stolen: Undercover police may pretend non-stolen property is stolen in order to ensnare suspects. Still, it is a defense to dealing in stolen property that a defendant did not know and had no reason to know property was stolen.
Dealing in Stolen Property: Purchase in Tampa, FL
It is not considered dealing in stolen goods to purchase stolen property without intent to resell it, even if you know or should know it is stolen, because this does not qualify as “trafficking.” It may, however, qualify as theft, the definition of which includes the obtaining of another person’s property with intent to deprive the other person of it or with intent to reap a benefit to which the receiver is not entitled. Theft can be either grand or petit, depending on the value of the property, and penalties vary accordingly.