To “traffic” means to sell, transfer, distribute, dispense or otherwise dispose of stolen property to another person, or to buy, receive, possess or obtain control of stolen property, with intent to sell, transfer, distribute, dispense or otherwise dispose of the property to another person.
Effectively, “trafficking” means to transfer, or receive, property that is stolen. For the purposes of the “criminal racketeering act,” under which heading the Trafficking in Stolen Property criminal allegations fall, “stolen property” means “property that has been obtained by theft, robbery, or extortion.”
For the purposes of the Trafficking in Stolen Property Statute, it is irrelevant who actually stole the property. However, if a person is alleged to have stolen property and then sold it later, that person may be charged with both theft and trafficking offenses. Often this is seen involving pawnshops.
There are two degrees of Trafficking in Stolen Property; both are Felonies. The distinction between the two degrees is primarily the knowledge that the person trafficking is alleged to have had regarding the property’s stolen status.
Trafficking in Stolen Property First Degree
In a prosecution for Trafficking in Stolen Property First Degree, the prosecution is required to prove that the person charged knew that the property involved was actually stolen. Thus, if a person is alleged to have knowingly initiated, organized, planned, financed, directed, managed or supervised the theft of property for sale to others, or who knowingly trafficked in stolen property, that person may be charged with Trafficking in Stolen Property First Degree. This is a Class B Felony. Assuming no proper felony history and no exceptional situations, a first-time offender faces 3-9 months in jail, if convicted.
Trafficking in Stolen Property Second Degree
In contrast to Trafficking in Stolen Property First Degree, in Trafficking in Stolen Property Second Degree it is not necessary that the person charged actually knew that the property was stolen. Second Degree has the requirement that a person “recklessly trafficked in stolen property.” Effectively this means that the prosecution must prove that the actor “should have known” and that a reasonable person “would have known.” Trafficking in Stolen Property Second Degree is a Class C Felony. Assuming no prior felony history and no exceptional situations, a first-time offender faces 1-3 months in jail, if convicted.
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