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Resisting Recovery of Stolen Property

Under Section 812.015(6), Fla. Stat., the crime of “Resisting Recovery of Stolen Property” requires proof of the following five elements:

  • the defendant was committing, or had a committed a theft of property from the owner or custodian of property;
  • during or after the theft, the victim made a reasonable effort to recover the property;
  • the defendant resisted the victim’s effort to recover the property;
  • at the time of the defendant’s resistance, the victim had probable cause to believe the defendant had concealed or removed the property from its place of display or the place where the property had been kept; and
  • at the time of the resistance, the victim was a merchant, merchant’s employee, or law enforcement officer.

Under § 812.014(1), Fla. Stat., a “theft” occurs when someone:

  • knowingly and unlawfully obtains or uses or endeavors to obtain or to use the property of another; and
  • does so with intent to, either temporarily or permanently, deprive the person of his or her right to the property or any benefit from it; or
  • to appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to it.

Attorney for Resisting Recovery of Stolen Property in Tampa, FL

If you were charged with Section 812.015(6), Fla. Stat., for resisting the recovery of stolen property, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm.

Our criminal defense attorneys represent clients charged with theft crimes in Tampa, Hillsborough County, and throughout the greater Tampa Bay area.

Our main office is located in downtown Tampa in Hillsborough County. We have a second office located in New Port Richey in Pasco County.

Call 813-250-0500.

Definitions for the Crime of Resisting Recovery of Stolen Property

Under § 812.012(4), Fla. Stat., the term “property” means anything of value, and includes tangible personal property.

Under § 812.015(1), Fla. Stat., the term “merchant” means an owner or operator, or the agent, consignee, employee, lessee, or officer of an owner or operator, of any premises or apparatus used for retail purchase or sale of any merchandise.

Under § 812.015(1), Fla. Stat., the term “merchandise” means any personal property, capable of manual delivery, displayed, held, or offered for retail sale by a merchant.

As explained in Maryland v. Pringle, 540 U.S. 366 (2003) and State v. Neumann, 567 So. 2d 950 (Fla. 4th DCA 1990), the term “probable cause” is not capable of a precise quantification into percentages because it depends on an assessment of probabilities in a particular factual context.

The term “probable cause” does not mean more likely true than false. Instead, “probable cause” is a practical, common sense determination, given the totality of circumstances, including a person’s knowledge, training and experience, as to whether there was a fair probability for a person to believe a certain fact is true.

We also represent clients on the lesser included offenses of resisting recovery of stolen property under Section 812.015(6) including petit theft in the second degree under Section 812.014(3)(a), petit theft in the first degree under Section 812.014(2)(e), battery under Section 784.03, and assault under Section 784.011.


Definitions for the Crime of Resisting Recovery of Stolen Property

Section 812.015(6), Fla. Stat., provides:

“For purposes of this section the charge of theft and the charge of resisting may be tried concurrently.”

In Stuckey v. State, 972 So. 2d 918 (Fla. 5th DCA 2007), the court interpreted that to mean that a defendant can be prosecuted and convicted for both Resisting a Merchant and Theft without offending double jeopardy. For this reason, if the crime of theft is charged as a separate count, then the theft should not be given as a lesser-included offense of “Resisting a Merchant.”

If, however, the jurors are being instructed on Resisting a Merchant as a lesser-included offense of Robbery, then Theft should be given as a lesser-included offense.

The term “law enforcement officer” is not defined in chapter 812, Florida Statutes, or in case law interpreting § 812.015(6), Fla. Stat. The trial court may consult § 790.01, Fla. Stat., § 934.02, Fla. Stat., and § 943.10, Fla. Stat. in deciding whether and how to define “law enforcement officer” for the jury.


This article was last updated on Friday, July 5, 2019.

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