Grand Theft and Dealing in Stolen Property
In Florida, grand theft may range from a felony in the third degree all the way up to a serious felony of the first degree. The degree of the offense depends upon the value of the property stolen or sometimes whether the property is of some unique type. For example, stealing a gun, even though the gun may be worth less than $100, constitutes grand theft. Normally, property worth $300 or more but less than $20,000 is a felony of the 3rd degree. Other forms of property that can be stolen which constitutes grand theft, regardless of value, includes: motor vehicles, trade secrets, or property taken from a construction site.
Dealing in stolen property means to sell, buy, possess, or otherwise dispose of property which you know or should know was stolen. The statutes governing trafficking in stolen property are intended to punish those who knowingly deal in property stolen by others. The basic scenario envisions a person who steals and then sells the stolen property to a middleman, called a “fence”—who in turn re-sells the property to a third person. The statutes under Florida Law punish both the initial thief and the fence.
Trafficking in stolen property is a felony of the second degree punishable by up to fifteen years in prison. There are many defenses to accusations of grand theft and dealing in stolen property, most of which depend on the particular facts of each case. There are also technical defenses available to a Defendant under the law. If you are charged with such an offense, you should confer with an attorney as soon as possible so that you may establish what defenses, if any, you have to these serious charges.
Florida Statutes 812.019 defines Dealing in Stolen Property as: Any person who traffics in, or endeavors to traffic in, property that he or she knows or should know was stolen shall be guilty of a felony of the second degree.
A common example is when someone pawns a stolen item. The person pawning the item must give their name and have proper identification. Law Enforcement frequently reviews the pawnshop paperwork looking for matches on their list of stolen property. It is then a simple task to find the person who pawned the item and make an arrest. Explanations like “I found the bicycle” or A friend asked me to pawn it for them” do not usually persuade the cops to let someone go. As a word of caution, if someone asks you to pawn an item for them, THINK TWICE!
The prosecutor must prove a Defendant knew the item was stolen or should have known it was stolen. This means that even if you can prove you did not have actual knowledge the item was stolen you can still be convicted if you SHOULD HAVE known it was stolen. This determination is very fact based. If you retain our firm to work on the case we will spend a lot of time investigating all the circumstances of the charge. Of course the most important witness is frequently the person charged.
Often when the police discover a Dealing in Stolen Property situation it leads them back to a Grand Theft. Grand Theft is theft of any property valued at $300 or more. It also includes the theft of some items regardless of their value including; a will, a firearm, a fire extinguisher, a motor vehicle, or any stop sign.
Grand Theft is punishable by up to five years in prison plus a fine and Dealing in Stolen Property is punishable by up to fifteen years in prison and a fine. If you or someone you know is charged with Grand Theft or Dealing in Stolen Property in Brevard County call Rhoden Law Group. Call or text for an appointment at 321-549-3162. Initial consultations are always at no charge.