Whether in the Phoenix area, or anywhere in Arizona, per A.R.S. 13-2307, Trafficking in Stolen Goods occurs when a person either knowingly initiates and plans, or supervises, the theft and trafficking of property of another that has, in fact, been stolen. It also occurs when a person “recklessly” traffics in the property of another which has been stolen.
The second scenario involves cases where somebody does not ask enough questions as to why they are getting such a good deal. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Not long ago, pawn shop operators were often accused of recklessly Trafficking in Stolen Goods.
This was remedied by requiring identification to be shown, along with logbooks and registries of serial numbers being sent to the police department in order to verify property that they were either purchasing or loaning on, was not stolen.
Possible Punishment for Trafficking in Stolen Property
If you are charged and convicted of Trafficking in Stolen Goods, then it can carry two different sentences. The first one is for “knowingly” trafficking in Stolen Property. This is considered to be a Class 2 felony and it carries the following punishment: 3 years in prison minimum, 5 years presumptive, and 12.5 years as an aggravated term. This is, of course, assuming you have no prior convictions. Also, the judge can decide to sentence an individual to probation with zero days in jail, or up to 1 year in jail, as a condition of that probation. Probation can include work furlough, which would allow a person to be released five days a week in order to go to and from work or school.
If convicted of “recklessly” Trafficking in Stolen Goods, then a person would face a Class 3 felony. This carries 2 years in prison as a super-mitigated term, 3.5 years as a presumptive term, and 8.75 years as an aggravated term. Again, the judge can also sentence a person to probation with zero days in jail, or up to 1 year in jail, as long as this is a person’s first felony offense.
Possible Defenses for Trafficking in Stolen Property
One of the most common defenses utilized in defending Trafficking in Stolen Goods is that the person who was buying the goods (or selling the goods) had no idea that they were, in fact, stolen. This will depend on a “totality of the circumstances” in order to prove that the person was tricked. For example, many times people go to garage sales and buy items from a person’s front yard for mere pennies on the dollar with the assumption that they are not stolen. This may be due to the claim of “Estate Sale,” or “surplus inventory,” as a reason that somebody is seeking to get rid of property in order to clear some garage space. Many times, we have gone back and interviewed witnesses in a certain neighborhood in order to show that the prior resident often conducted garage sales which did not raise any suspicion. This is true even if the original seller is long gone. The same defense applies for items bought off of Craig’s List, Facebook, or other social media platforms.
Additionally, because our law firm fights convictions from all angles, we would assert a wide range of defenses and challenges regarding constitutional violations which can apply in all criminal cases. The possibilities are numerous and diverse. One of those that we frequently assert is a “Miranda Rights Violation.” In Arizona, the standard of whether any incriminating statement, (i.e., a statement which intends to admit guilt) is only admissible into evidence based upon a “voluntariness” standard. If we can demonstrate that the police coerced you (i.e., intimidated or tricked you) into making a confession or an inculpatory statement, or that they did not properly read your Miranda rights, then we can suppress those statements and have any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements. In addition, “Denial of Right to Counsel,” is another common defense which is often raised. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their attorney, but is denied that request and the questioning continues.
Other defenses which can be used in more serious cases may include challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case. Depending on what else you have been charged with, this could include exposing flawed procedures regarding blood, breath, urine testing; finger-print analysis; DNA testing; ballistics; gun-shot residue testing; computer analysis/cloning hard-drive procedures; forensic and financial accounting reviews; etc.
Lastly, one of the most common defense tactics is exposing sloppy or misleading police reports which include everything from misstatements, false statements, flawed photo lineups and witness identification procedures, and inaccurate crime-scene reconstruction.
It is important to hire the right Trafficking in Stolen Property defense attorney in order to have your charges dismissed. Our firm has handled numerous cases such as these and we have had them successfully defended throughout Arizona. Visit our case victories pages and click on Trafficking in Stolen Property in order to view our most recent successes.