Possession Of Stolen Property In Florida
Can you get criminal charges for theft even if you didn’t steal anything? Not exactly. If items in your possession got to you after being stolen, you can face charges for possession of stolen property. On the surface of the matter, possessing stolen property sounds like it would be a less serious offense than stealing, but depending on the circumstances, you can face a prison sentence of up to 30 years for possession of stolen property that you personally did not steal. As with any crime, a jury cannot convict you unless the evidence is compelling enough. You also have the right to representation by an attorney, as do all defendants in criminal cases. Your lawyer can help you choose the best arguments to show that the actions that the prosecution alleges are possession of stolen property are actually something else. If you are facing criminal charges for possession of stolen property or trafficking in stolen property, contact a West Palm Beach property crimes lawyer.
Is Possession of Stolen Property Worse Than Theft?
You can get a conviction for trafficking in stolen property if you buy, sell, possess, or control property that someone else stole or if you make concrete plans to do those things with the property. As with theft, the penalties for trafficking in stolen property vary according to the value of the property stolen. For the most valuable property, trafficking in stolen property is a second-degree felony, and the maximum penalty is a $10,000 fine and 15 years in prison. If there is sufficient evidence that you were managing, directing, or organization the stolen property trafficking operation, you can be convicted of a first-degree felony, where the maximum penalty is a $10,000 fine and 30 years in prison.
Defenses to Allegations of Possession of Stolen Property
If the police find stolen property in your possession, prosecutors can charge you with theft and trafficking in stolen property. Even if you receive charges for both offenses, you can only get a conviction for one or the other. In other words, your role in the operation was either to steal the property from its legal owner or receiving it from someone other than the legal owner, but not both. If prosecutors charge you with both offenses, your lawyer might advise you to plead guilty to one of them, as sentences are usually lighter for defendants who plead guilty than for defendants convicted at trial. Your lawyer might also help you think of defenses that would enable you to persuade a jury to acquit you of one or both of the charges. With charges of trafficking in stolen property or any other offense, you have the final say about whether you plead innocent or guilty.
Contact a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
A Palm Beach County criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing charges for theft or trafficking in stolen property. Contact William Wallshein P.A. in West Palm Beach Florida to discuss your case. Attorney William Wallshein has more than 38 years of experience, including five years as a prosecutor in Palm Beach County,