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Can you accidentally receive stolen property?

Unless you have stockpiled dry goods and other supplies, you undoubtedly have noticed a sharp climb in the price of consumer goods recently. In fact, according to reporting from CBS, inflation has caused living expenses to rise by nearly 8% in the last year alone.

Until prices return to normal, you may be looking for ways to save money. While buying new and used items second-hand may help to stretch your budget, you do not want to face criminal prosecution for receiving stolen property.

Receiving stolen property is a crime

In Florida, it is unlawful to traffic in stolen property. If you steal and sell something, you may run afoul of the law. Likewise, buying or otherwise assuming stolen property is also likely to land you in hot water. Because trafficking in stolen property is usually a felony, you may even end up with a criminal record for the rest of your life.

Knowledge is an element

It is not really possible to receive stolen property accidentally. After all, knowledge is an element of the criminal offense. Still, prosecutors do not need direct evidence of your knowledge to secure a conviction.

If the facts and circumstances surrounding the transaction would lead a reasonable person to know about the theft of the goods, a conviction is likely. For example, it is probably not reasonable to purchase an in-the-box power tool for 10% of its retail price from the back of a pickup truck in a parking lot.

Ultimately, rather than risking both your freedom and a hefty fine, it is advisable to explore all possible defenses to any criminal charges you are currently facing.

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