Resisting Recovery of Stolen Property

In Florida, if a law enforcement officer, merchant, or store employee legitimately believes that someone has stolen property, they have the right to make a reasonable effort to reclaim what was stolen. This law is most often used in shoplifting cases. For example, thieves sometimes employ grab-and-run tactics when they’re shoplifting. If a jeweler or other store owner catches that thief in the act or on camera, they have the right to try and recover the goods that were taken.

If the accused offender resists giving up that stolen property, they can be charged with the crime of Resisting Recovery of Stolen Property. An excellent point to remember is that resisting recovery of stolen property is not the same thing as theft. The two crimes have different definitions and penalties. If you’re facing a charge for either one, you may work with a competent criminal lawyer to protect your rights.

Differences Between Theft and Resisting Recovery of Stolen Property

Resisting recovery of stolen property as defined under Florida law requires evidence to prove the crime occurred beyond a reasonable doubt. To do so, the prosecutor must show:

  • The offender had committed or was in the process of committing theft of property from the owner or keeper of the property;
  • The victim made a reasonable effort to recover the property during or after the theft
  • The offender resisted the victim’s attempt to reclaim the property;
  • The victim attempting to recover the property was a law enforcement officer, merchant, or merchant’s employee;
  • And, during the time of the offender’s resistance, the victim had probable cause to believe the offender had taken or removed the property from the place where it was kept

In contrast, theft is defined by Florida law as a crime that transpires when someone does any of the following:

  • Knowingly and unlawfully acquires, attempts to acquire, or makes use of another’s property, and
  • Does so intending to deprive the person of his or her right to the property or any advantage from it, either permanently or temporarily, or
  • Allocates the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not at liberty to have it.

In short, theft is the criminal act of stealing. Resisting recovery of stolen property is a crime that could follow theft. The charge for resisting recovery of stolen property in Florida is a first-degree misdemeanor that’s punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and up to one year in jail. The charge is separate from that of theft, but an offender can be charged with both acts.

The charge for theft depends on the value or type of property that was stolen. Theft charges range from second-degree misdemeanors punishable by up to $500 in fines and 60 days in jail to first-degree felonies punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and 30 years in prison.

Viable Defenses Against Resisting Recovery of Stolen Property

Individuals charged with resisting recovery of stolen property can use their lack of knowledge about the charge as a defense. For example, let’s say the suspect is being confronted by the victim, who demands that the stolen property be released. If the suspect had reason to believe the victim wasn’t who they claimed to be (i.e., a law enforcement officer, the merchant, or the merchant’s employee), then the suspect couldn’t have “resisted” in the same manner defined by law. When using this defense, it’s up the suspect or their lawyer to legitimately prove this lack of knowledge.

Aggressive Lawyers for Resisting Recovery of Stolen Property in Orlando

If you or a loved one has been arrested in Central Florida for an alleged theft crime, along with resisting the recovery of stolen property, contact an expert criminal defense attorney right away to plead your case for innocence.

Attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm are experts on counseling and defending clients in Florida against charges of theft and resisting recovery of stolen property. Our aggressive criminal lawyers have represented clients facing charges of grand theft, shoplifting, and many other theft violations throughout Orlando. With more than 100 years of combined legal experience, we work diligently to defend and get you the most favorable result possible.

If you’re facing criminal charges, don’t delay in reaching out to our team. You can reach our criminal attorneys anytime by calling (407) 228-3838. You can also fill out our online form with the details of your charge, and we’ll reach out to begin your free case evaluation.