Trafficking in Stolen Property is a serious offense in Arizona. The statute defining the offense is contained within the organized crime section of the criminal code and is codified as A.R.S. § 13-2307. A person who recklessly traffics in the property of another that has been stolen is guilty in the second degree. Meanwhile, a person who knowingly initiates, organizes, plans, finances, directs, manages, or supervises the theft and trafficking of the stolen property of another is guilty in the first degree.
With respect to Trafficking in Stolen Property in the second degree, it is important to note that the State does not have to prove that a defendant knew the property he trafficked was stolen. Rather, it must prove that the defendant was reckless about whether the property he or she trafficked was stolen. A person is reckless with respect to whether the property is stolen if he consciously disregards the substantial and unjustifiable risk that the property he trafficked was stolen. A.R.S. § 13-2305 allows a jury to infer that the defendant knew the property was stolen, or was at least reckless about whether it was stolen, under certain specified circumstances.
For instance, proof that a defendant possessed property that was recently stolen, unless adequately explained, may give rise to an inference that the person in possession of the property was aware of the risk that it had been stolen, or participated in some way in the theft. Proof that the property was purchased at a price substantially below fair market value, unless satisfactorily explained, can also give rise to an inference that the person buying or selling the property was aware of the risk that it was stolen. Lastly, proof of purchase or sale of stolen property by a dealer in property, outside of the regular course of business, or without the usual indicia of ownership other than mere possession, unless satisfactorily explained, may give rise to an inference that the person buying or selling the property was aware of the risk that it had been stolen.
Trafficking in Stolen Property in the first degree is a class 2 felony, which is more serious than a second degree charge. Prosecutions for Trafficking in Stolen Property in the first degree are much less common. When they do arise, they are typically aimed at those who direct others who engage in the theft and trafficking of stolen property. Typically, these prosecutions are based upon the testimony of co-defendants, who will often turn state’s evidence in an attempt to obtain favorable treatment with respect to their own crimes. This scenario allows for effective attacks on the credibility of the State’s witnesses, who will often say anything to save their own skin.
Trafficking in Stolen Property is a very serious offense, regardless of whether it is in the first or second degree. If you have been investigated for, arrested for, or charged with Trafficking in Stolen Property you need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix. Stone Rose Law can help, contact us today at (480) 498-8998.