Can you be convicted of both theft and dealing in stolen property?
In Florida, an accused may be convicted of several different types of thefts. Felony and misdemeanor theft are the most common theft crimes that are seen in Palm Beach County, FL. Another crime that the prosecutor likes to charge an accused with, in the same family as theft, is dealing in stolen property. But can an accused be convicted of both theft and dealing in stolen property?
Theft in Florida is defined as “A person commits theft if he or she knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently: (a) Deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property. (b) Appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property.” If the value of the alleged stolen property is less than $300.00, then the theft is a misdemeanor; and if the value of the theft is alleged to be greater than $300.00, then the theft is a felony.
Dealing in stolen property is defined as “A person commits the crime of dealing in stolen property if the person traffics in, or endeavors to traffic in; property that he or she knows or should know was stolen is a felony of the second degree.” Dealing in stolen property is a 2nd degree felony, compared to felony theft which is a 3rd degree felony. The former crime of dealing in stolen property is more severe and carries a sentencing score that likely will place the offender in prison, unlike the latter crime of theft that usually means a sentence of PTI. But can an accused be convicted of both Theft and Dealing in Stolen Property?
The answer is NO. A person in Florida cannot be convicted of both felony theft and dealing in stolen property. The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that a jury must be advised, through the jury instructions, that they must only return a verdict of guilty on either felony theft or dealing in stolen property, if they find the defendant guilty, but not on both. Plus, a trial judge is prohibited from adjudicating a defendant guilty on both crimes of theft and dealing in stolen property.
The linchpin of these two statutes is the defendant’s intended use of the stolen property. Is the defendant a common thief, who steals property with the intent to appropriate said property to his own use or to the use of a person not entitled to the use of the property or is the defendant a person who traffics or endeavors to traffic in the stolen property? The jury can decide to convict of one crime, if any, but not both. Therefore, in Florida an accused may not be guilty of both Grand Theft and Dealing in Stolen Property.
If you or a loved one is facing a theft crime, dealing in stolen property or any other criminal act in Palm Beach County, Florida then contact an experienced criminal trial lawyer. An experienced criminal trial defense lawyer can properly advise you on the laws, rules and procedures of criminal court. Proper advice from an experienced criminal attorney can be the difference between your freedom and your incarceration. If you or a loved one has been arrested in West Palm Beach, FL then contact criminal defense lawyer, Andrew D. Stine, for your free immediate consultation. Hire Stine or Do the Time!