I Didn’t Know it Was Stolen! Did I Commit a Crime?
You could face imprisonment if you are found in possession of stolen property. Penalties for possession of stolen property are in proportion to the value of the goods that have been alleged to have been stolen. If you have been accused or arrested for possession of stolen property you will need aggressive representation by an experienced criminal defense attorney. The stakes are too high to rely on trying to explain how the property came into your possession, even if you genuinely did not know that it was stolen. State prosecutors may take little notice of protestations of innocence, yet there are many good reasons why an experienced attorney can challenge the evidence against you.
You cannot be convicted of the crime of possession of stolen property unless the prosecution can prove that you knew that the property was stolen when it came into your possession. Note that the onus of proof lies with the prosecution. They must be able to demonstrate to a jury that you knew, “beyond a reasonable doubt,” that you were obtaining or were gifted stolen property. It will be the job of the attorney representing you to show that this burden of proof is insufficient to convict you.
Defenses against the crime of possession of stolen property
In some cases, an allegation of possession of stolen property can be challenged when there is evidence that the property rightfully belonged to you anyway. For example, let’s say that you left a distinctive and expensive watch somewhere, perhaps because you were taking a shower or going for a swim. The watch went missing, but you later saw it somewhere else and you recovered it. The person who you saw with the watch may have genuinely bought it off someone else who had either found your watch or had stolen it. This may seem a bit far-fetched, but provides a possible scenario for other cases of property that may appear to have been stolen, but in reality were not actually stolen.
Other allegations of possession of stolen property may arise when someone legitimately lends or hires something of value to you, and then later accuses you of not returning it. You may genuinely believe you had been given permission to keep it temporarily, yet there could have been a breakdown in communication, which lead to the accusation against you. Again, it will be the job of prosecutors to prove that you had the item(s) in your possession because you deliberately intended not to return them. Your attorney will piece together what happened with the previous transaction and challenge the evidence presented.
Another situation that could arise is when stolen property is discovered in a building or vehicle that you share with others. In this case, prosecutors must be able to prove who had knowledge that the property was stolen. This may mean one or more being charged or no-one at all, depending on the circumstances. It must be shown, to prove possession, that you were the one who had the control over the items that had been stolen.
If you have been charged with the offense of possession of stolen property, you have the right to be defended. Contact Miami criminal defense attorney, Albert Quirantes Esq. at the earliest opportunity. His office phone number is 305-644-1800.
Albert Quirantes: Your Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer & DUI Lawyer
For over 30 years, Miami criminal defense attorney Albert M. Quirantes has been aggressively and zealously defending the rights of those accused of felony and misdemeanor crimesthroughout South Florida. With his dedicated team, reasonable legal fees, and a well-earned reputation for challenging prosecutors at every turn, he has protected over 8,000 clients during some of the roughest times of their lives.
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If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, please call us today at (305) 644-1800 or fill out our online form to arrange for your free, confidential initial consultation.
If you have any questions about this or any other criminal accusation, call Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes at: (305) 644-1800 or visit our homepage www.CriminalDefendant.com for a direct link to the office or a text message or a map and directions to our office.