Dealing in Stolen Property
Theft is one of the most common crimes in the state of Florida and in this country. Every hour of the day, retail stores fall victim to shoplifters, cars are stolen off the street, and homes are burglarized for the valuables within. The question that arises is: what happens to all of those stolen goods? Sometimes people steal thing just to have and keep the stolen items. Cash and other usable items have value on their own. However, common stolen items like power tools and jewelry have to eventually end up somewhere. This is where the criminal charge of dealing in stolen property arises. Once a theft occurs, the thief or a third party will often try to unload the stolen goods in exchange for goods and services. Many inexperienced or naïve criminals will try to sell stolen items at a pawn shop. This is the easiest way to get arrested for dealing in stolen property, as pawn shops are required by law to report all of the items that are sold in their stores and have a database of recently stolen goods. Selling stolen items at a pawn shop will often result in the police knocking at your door shortly after. If you have found yourself in this situation, it is critical that you speak with a Clearwater criminal defense attorney right away.Elements of Dealing in Stolen Property
A person may be charged and convicted of dealing in stolen property if the state proves that person “trafficked in, or endeavored to traffic in, property that he or she knew or should have known was stolen.” Dealing in stolen property is a separate and more serious offense than the original theft. Often, thieves will use a third party to sell the stolen goods in exchange for a portion of the profits. Thieves do this because they know that it is much more likely that the person selling the stolen item will be caught and charged with a crime.
If you are ever approached by a friend or acquaintance who asks you to sell something to a pawn shop on their behalf, you should politely refuse. More than likely, that item is stolen and you will be charged and prosecuted for a serious felony. While grand theft is typically only a third degree felony, dealing in stolen property is a second degree felony punishable by up to fifteen years in prison. Second degree felonies typically also result in convictions if you are found guilty and will stay on your record forever. You should try to avoid becoming a convicted felon under all circumstances.
The most common and effective defense to dealing in stolen property is lack of knowledge. The prosecution is required to prove that the defendant knew or should have known that the items being pawned were stolen. Often, the person selling the items and the person who stole them are two different people. A skilled and diligent Clearwater criminal defense lawyer may be able to prove that you did not possess the requisite knowledge to justify a conviction for this offense.Pawn Shops
Selling stolen items via pawn shops is by far the most common factual scenario in dealing in stolen property cases. People in possession of stolen property often turn to pawn shops because they are seen as the most reliable place to sell valuable items for a quick buck with no questions asked. However, people fail to realize the regulations and rules that pawn shops have instituted in order to prevent the sale of stolen property. All pawn shop sales require that the seller provide identification and a thumb print so that their identity is on file. Pawn shops also must keep a database of all items bought by the shop which can be cross referenced with a list of stolen goods kept by the authorities. This makes it very easy for sellers of stolen property to be tracked down.Speak to a Dedicated Criminal Defense Attorney Today
The lawyers at Hanlon Law have the experience and knowledge to develop the best defense for your dealing in stolen property case. If you need a specialized Clearwater criminal defense attorney, call us right away at (727) 897-5413.