In the state of Florida, it is a crime to accept or purchase property that you know was obtained through theft. This crime is not the same as theft, robbery or extortion, but it carries severe penalties all the same. By receiving stolen goods, you are aiding the individual responsible for stealing it from the original owner, and you could be charged with concealing or deterring the investigation. Because it is so severe, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances.
The Prosecutors Burden
A prosecutor has a heavy burden to prove you knew you were receiving stolen goods. In order for you to be convicted, they must:
- Prove the property was stolen.
- Prove that you were aware the property was stolen.
- Prove that you intended to keep the stolen property from the owner, sell that property or give it to someone else.
For higher penalties, the prosecutors must also show that you knew and offered to help the thief by purchasing or taking the stolen property from them.
Receiving versus Possessing
There is a fine line between receiving and possessing stolen property – and often that line can be blurred by prosecutors and police officials. But, the critical factor that determines the difference is time. If you knew the property was stolen at the time you received it, then you are guilty of receiving stolen property.
If, however, you did not find out it was stolen until after you accepted it and then you continued to hold onto it, you are guilty of possessing stolen goods. You can be accused of both if you accepted the stolen good then continued to hold onto it too.
The Penalties for Receiving Stolen Property
The penalties vary for receipt of stolen goods. Your past criminal history and the amount of property you received could determine how long you spend in jail as well as any fines you may be forced to pay. But, if you are convicted, you can expect:
Worse, you could have a criminal record that follows you around the rest of your life. That criminal record could make it difficult to get a job in the future or even qualify for housing.
Aggressive Defense Attorneys in Miami
If you have been charged with receiving stolen property, do not go to court without an experienced defense attorney. The team at the Law Office of Paul J. Donnelly has years of experience handling these types of cases. We will assess your case and help come up with the best line of defense that keeps your best interests at the forefront. Contact us today for a no obligation consultation by dialing 305-964-8591 now.