Trafficking stolen property is generally an offense that happens after there has been a theft of property. The crime is serious and can result in a prison sentence of 10 years and a fine of $20,000. If you or a loved has been charged with this offense, it is critical that you contact a skilled criminal defense attorney now for help with your case.
What is Trafficking?
Trafficking is a legal term that means to unlawfully deal or trade in something. According to RCW 9A.82.010, it means doing any of the following with stolen property:
- Selling it,
- Transferring it,
- Distributing it,
- Dispensing it, or
- Disposing it to another party.
Washington law also says that trafficking may include:
- Buying, receiving, possessing, or obtaining control of stolen property,
- If this is done with the intent to sell, transfer, distribute, dispense, or dispose of the property to someone else.
There are two degrees of trafficking stolen property in Washington.
What is Trafficking Stolen Property in the First Degree?
Under RCW 9A.82.050, a person commits the crime of trafficking stolen property in the first degree if he knowingly engages in the trafficking of stolen property. “Knowingly” means that the accused was aware of the fact that his acts amounted to the trafficking of stolen property.
A defendant will also commit this offense if he:
- Knowingly initiates, organizes, plans, finances, directs, manages, or supervises the theft of property, and
- Does so for the purpose of selling the property to another.
Trafficking stolen property in the first degree is a class B felony. The crime is punishable by:
- Custody in state prison for up to ten years, and/or
- A maximum fine of $20,000.
What is Trafficking Stolen Property in the Second Degree?
Under RCW 9A.82.055, a person commits this offense if he recklessly engages in the trafficking of stolen property. “Recklessly” means that the defendant was aware of a risk that his actions amounted to the trafficking of stolen property but ignored the risk.
Trafficking stolen property in the second degree is a class C felony. The crime is punishable by:
- Custody in prison for up to five years, and/or
- A maximum fine of $10,000.
Are there Legal Defenses to Trafficking Charges?
Luckily, a defendant can raise a legal defense if accused of trafficking stolen property. For example, a defendant can show that he did not act:
- Knowingly (for a charge of first degree trafficking stolen property), or
- Recklessly (for a charge of second degree trafficking stolen property).
Other defenses are also available, and the best defense is usually determined by the facts of a case.
Please know, however, that the most successful legal defense is one brought by an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney. The criminal theft lawyers at Black Law & Askerov have over 25 years of combined experience fighting these types of charges. They are tireless in their efforts and passionate in their representation. Do yourself a favor and contact them now to get legal help that makes a true difference.