Dealing in stolen property sounds like a highly sophisticated criminal theft offense. Really, we refer to dealing in stolen property as fencing or bootlegging.
While the Florida Legislature likely intended for the dealing in stolen property statute to target larger scale stolen property trafficking operations, more often than not, those who are charged under Fla. Stat. § 812.022 do not fit that model.
Generally, people who are convicted of dealing in stolen property have resold a stuff on Ebay or Craigslist without realizing their initial buy contained stolen property. On the other hand, a friend who sold his friend’s Xbox online as a practical joke may later find himself facing criminal charges.
While dealing in stolen property can be considered “unintentionally common,” it is important to realize that dealing in stolen property is a serious felony offense that can cost a person years in Florida State prison and thousands in fines.
Attorney for Dealing in Stolen Property in Palm Beach County
If you or someone you know has been charged with bootlegging or fencing, otherwise known as dealing in stolen property, call an experienced criminal defense attorney for more information about how to fight dealing in stolen property charges.
Our office takes cases throughout Palm Beach County, Florida, and in the surrounding areas of Miami-Dade County and Broward County. We pride ourselves on being experienced litigators who are dedicated to getting the best possible result for our clients.
Call (561) 557-8686 now for more information about our legal services and schedule a no obligations consultation.
Elements of Dealing in Stolen Property under Fla. Stat. § 812.022
In order to convict an individual of dealing in stolen property under Florida Statute § 812.022, the State must show the following, beyond a reasonable doubt:
- that the defendant trafficked in or attempted to traffic in property;
- that the property in question was allegedly stolen; and
- that the defendant knew or should have known that the alleged property was stolen.
Moreover, Florida law states that any person who organizes, initiates, directs, plans, supervises, or finances the theft of property and traffics in such stolen property is guilty of a first-degree felony.
Dealing in Stolen Property Online
Resale using web services like eBay, Craigslist, and Amazon is common in today’s retail market. Using the internet to resale stolen property has also become a common way to commit property trafficking crimes.
Under Florida Statute § 812.0195, dealing in stolen property using the internet involves an individual using the internet to sell or offer for sale, any property that the individual knows to have been stolen or has reasonable cause to believe that the property was stolen.
The penalty for a dealing in stolen property conviction will depend on the value of the property stolen. The crime is penalized as follows:
- If the property stolen was valued at less than $300, then the penalty is a second-degree misdemeanor. Second-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to sixty (60) days in county jail.
- If the property stolen was valued at $300 or more, then the penalty is a third-degree felony. Third-degree felonies are punishable by up to five (5) years in prison and up to $5,000 fines.
Florida Inferences of Dealing in Stolen Property
Florida law acknowledged certain factual circumstances as giving rise to inferences of the knowledge required to convict an individual of dealing in stolen property. In a trial, the jury may use these inferences in deliberations. The following situations are examples of such inferences:
- proof of the purchase or sale of stolen property by a dealer in property, out of the regular course of business or without the usual indications of ownership;
- proof that a dealer who regularly deals in used property possesses stolen property, upon which a name and phone number of a person other than the offeror of the property are obviously displayed;
- proof of recently stolen property –if it is not satisfactorily explained; and
- proof that a person was in possession of a stolen motor vehicle and that the ignition mechanism of the motor vehicle had been bypassed or the steering wheel locking mechanism had been broken.
All of the above circumstances give rise to an inference that the person in possession of the stolen property knew or should have known that the property was stolen.
Florida Criminal Jury Instructions – Visit the Florida Supreme Court for the official jury instructions for dealing in stolen property charges. You can also find the jury instructions for theft, unlawful possession of a stolen credit card, and multiple other theft offenses.
Find a Lawyer for Dealing in Stolen Property Charges in West Palm Beach, FL
Despite the apparent ease of unknowingly dealing in stolen property, the fact that Florida law has a number of inferences that may be used as evidence of knowledge in jury deliberations, suggests that individuals should be extremely careful when reselling property. The State charges theft crimes very seriously in Florida.
If you or someone you know has been charged with dealing in stolen property or any other theft crime, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Meltzer & Bell, P.A. we strive to provide clients with the best possible defense and to counsel clients on the potential outcomes of their case.
We are experienced litigators and diligent negotiators who pride ourselves on fighting for our client’s best interest.
Call (561) 557-8686 now to set up an initial consultation with one of our attorneys.
This article was last updated on July 11, 2017.