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Stolen Property Defense Lawyer in Stuart, Florida

Charged With a Stolen Property Offense Martin County? Contact Our Stuart Defense Attorney Today

At The Law Office of Denise Miller, PA, our Stuart stolen property defense attorney is committed to providing the highest level of professional representation to clients. Stolen property allegations can lead to serious felony criminal charges. It is imperative that you have a top-tier advocate on your side. If you or your family member was arrested and charged with any type of stolen property offense, we are more than ready to help. Contact us at our Stuart law office today to arrange your completely confidential initial consultation with a top-tier Florida criminal defense attorney.

Know About Stolen Property Charges in Stuart, Florida

What to Know About Stolen Property Charges in Florida

Were you or your loved one accused of taking something without permission in Stuart? Under Florida law, you could end up facing a petit theft charge depending on the value of the property/assets that were stolen. However, theft charges are not the only stolen property offense in Florida. In fact, state prosecutors may bring serious charges against people without any specific allegations that they personally ever stole something. Here are two of the most common “stolen property” offenses that are brought in Florida:

  • Possession of Stolen Property: Under Florida Statute § 812.019, possession of stolen property is defined as knowingly obtaining, using, or attempting to obtain or use property with awareness of its stolen status. This law aims to deter the circulation of stolen goods in the state by holding individuals accountable for holding onto items they know to be illicitly obtained. The statute applies regardless of the property’s value or type, emphasizing the importance of integrity in property possession and ownership rights in Florida.
  • Dealing or Organizing Stolen Property: Florida Statute § 812.019 also addresses the more organized aspect of property crimes—dealing in or organizing stolen property. This involves engaging in the trafficking of stolen goods, where an individual either directly participates in or facilitates the movement and sale of stolen items, knowing or having reason to know of their stolen origins. This statute highlights the state’s focus on curtailing the broader networks of property theft, which often have significant economic and social impacts on communities and businesses across Florida.

Know the Penalties for a Stolen Property Conviction

Florida takes stolen property crimes very seriously. The severity of a criminal charge will depend on a number of different case-driven factors, including the amount that was alleged stolen, the type of property that was allegedly stolen, and the defendant’s history of prior offenses or lack thereof. Police and prosecutors may also be more aggressive in bringing charges against those involved in a more well-organized operation to steal property.

  • For Possession of Stolen Property, penalties vary primarily based on the value of the property involved. Lesser value items may result in misdemeanor charges, which carry lighter penalties such as short-term imprisonment or probation, and fines. However, when the stolen property is of significant value, the charges escalate to a felony level.
  • Dealing or Organizing Stolen Property typically incurs harsher penalties compared to simple possession due to the organized and often large-scale nature of these crimes. As this offense usually involves multiple parties and a higher volume of stolen goods, it is generally prosecuted as a felony. Convictions can lead to substantial prison sentences, hefty fines, and long probation periods.

Know Your Rights When Facing a Stolen Property Charge in Stuart, Florida

If you or your loved one is facing a criminal charge for stolen property in Stuart or elsewhere in South Florida, you have the right to raise a strong, aggressive defense. You are presumed innocent of the crime. The prosecution has the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Make sure you know your rights under the law. Here are four key things to keep in mind:

  • You Have the Right to Remain Silent: The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects your right to remain silent. Upon arrest for stolen property, you possess the absolute right to remain silent. You are not required to answer any questions from law enforcement or prosecutors. For example, if you are accused of stolen property related to a high-value bicycle that allegedly was taken from a public park, you might be urged to explain your actions. This is often a mistake. Your words can easily be taken out of context or otherwise used against you. Talk to a stolen property defense lawyer.
  • You Have the Right to Freedom from Illegal Searches: The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects you against unlawful searches and seizures. To search your belongings or property legally, police officers must possess either a valid search warrant or probable cause. Suppose you are implicated in a stolen property case involving the alleged taking of designer apparel from a department store. In this case, the police cannot search your residence for these items without a warrant or probable cause.  Any evidence obtained through illegal means should be excluded from the case.
  • You Have the Right to a Defense Lawyer: Criminal law is complicated. Everyone is entitled to legal representation when charged with a crime—and stolen property is no exception. As an example, if accused of a stolen property crime related to electronics that were allegedly taken from a neighbor, a Stuart defense lawyer can help you understand the charges, challenge the evidence, and develop a comprehensive strategy to protect your rights.
  • You Have the Right to a Fair Trial: People charged with stolen property are guaranteed the right to a fair trial by jury. This right is absolute, and it allows you to dispute the charges in a formal court setting. Remember, in Florida, the prosecution is tasked with proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, if you are accused of stolen property concerning expensive sporting equipment, you have the opportunity to challenge those allegations. While many criminal cases are resolved without a trial, a jury trial is your legal right.

Possible Defenses Against Stolen Property Charges in Florida

Stolen property can be charged as a second-degree felony offense in Florida. Given the severity of the charge, it is imperative that any person facing this type of allegation is prepared to explore every potential defense strategy to prove their innocence. Every case is different. Some potential defense against stolen property charges in Stuart include:

  • Mistake of Fact: This defense is similar to lack of intent but focuses on the misunderstanding of facts rather than the absence of intent. For instance, if someone purchases goods that were unknowingly stolen, they might use the mistake of fact defense by showing they acted in good faith under the belief that the transaction was legitimate. It is a defense strategy that typically requires proving that the defendant had no reason to believe that they were acquiring stolen property.
  • Lack of Knowledge: One of the most common defenses against charges of possessing/trafficking in stolen property in Florida is proving a lack of knowledge. Under Florida law, the prosecution must show that the defendant knew or should have known that the property was stolen. If a defendant can credibly establish that they were unaware of the property’s illicit origins—they may be able to successfully defend their innocence.
  • Involuntary Possession: Another defense is involuntary possession—where the defendant can argue that they were unaware of the presence of the stolen property. This could occur if someone else placed stolen goods in the defendant’s property without their knowledge. For example, if stolen electronics are found in a person’s car or home but were placed there by someone else without their consent, this defense might be used to contest the charges.
  • Plea Deal: An aggressive defense is not always the best approach in stolen property cases. In some circumstances, it may be more sensible to focus on reducing the potential penalties. For those who might struggle to fully exonerate themselves based on the evidence at hand, negotiating a plea deal can be a strategic defense. A plea deal in the context of stolen property charges might involve the defendant agreeing to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a reduced sentence or other concessions. This is particularly useful in cases where the evidence strongly suggests knowledge or involvement but where mitigating circumstances can be argued. An attorney can help.

Why Trust Stuart, FL Stolen Property Defense Lawyer Denise Miller

Stolen property charges are challenging. A conviction for this offense could carry serious criminal penalties. It could even lead to significant prison time. It is imperative that your case is defended by a skilled, experienced attorney. Our founder Denise Miller has more than two decades of relevant experience. A former Judicial Clerk For the 17th Judicial Circuit, Attorney Miller puts the best interests of clients first. We encourage you to review our client testimonials and to reach out to our law firm with any specific questions or concerns about your case. Among other things, our Stuart stolen property defense attorney is ready to:

  • Listen to what you have to say and answer questions about stolen property charges;
  • Investigate your case—gathering the evidence you need to build a defense;
  • Represent you before police and prosecutors; and
  • Develop a personalized strategy focused on helping you secure the best outcome.

At Law Office of Denise Miller, our criminal and family law firm in Stuart, FL focuses on the following practice areas:

Family Law, including:

Criminal Defense, including:

Yes. Yes, receiving or dealing with stolen property is typically a felony offense in Florida. The severity of the charge—whether it is a third-degree felony, second-degree felony, or first-degree felony—depends largely on the value of the property. However, other circumstances of the case may be deemed relevant as well. As a general rule, Higher-value goods and more organized operations are likely to result in more severe criminal charges.

It depends. Whether to plead guilty to a stolen property charge depends on several factors, including the strength of the evidence against you. Pleading guilty might result in reduced penalties or a more favorable plea deal, but it also means giving up your right to a trial. A plea agreement is a big decision. Never plead guilty without consulting with a top-tier Stuart defense lawyer.

In some cases, an expungement of an arrest record is possible. Expunging a stolen property arrest in Florida is possible if the charges were dismissed, you were acquitted, adjudication was withheld, and all terms of probation were fulfilled without incident. The expungement process removes the arrest record from public view. A Stuart, FL, criminal defense lawyer can help.

It depends. If convicted of a felony stolen property offense, some jail time is likely. You could even be facing substantial time behind bars for a conviction. First-time offenders or those involved with lower-value property may receive probation or alternative penalties, whereas repeat offenders or high-value cases are more likely to result in jail time. Of course, if you can get the charge dismissed, you can avoid jail time.

At The Law Office of Denise Miller, PA, our Florida stolen property defense lawyer is an aggressive, experienced, and future-focused advocate for clients. Our firm helps good people deal with hard situations. If you or a family member is facing a stolen property charge, we are here to help. Call us now or contact us online for your completely confidential, no-commitment initial case review. With a legal office in Stuart, our firm defends stolen property cases throughout Martin County.

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