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What happens when stolen property is found at a pawnshop? -- II

Last week, we started discussing how the seemingly simple task of recovering stolen property from a pawnshop might not be quite as simple as most people think. That's largely because state law mandates that pawnbrokers must be afforded an opportunity for a hearing, meaning law enforcement officials are not legally permitted to simply confiscate the item on behalf of the purported owner.

In today's post, we'll continue this discussion in an attempt to provide both property owners and pawnbrokers with a better understanding of their rights under the Florida Pawnbroking Act.

What happens if a person seeking the return of property and the pawnbroker can't reach an agreement?

The Florida Pawnbroking Act dictates that if these two parties cannot reach a mutually acceptable agreement concerning the disputed property with ten days of the receipt of the notice, a petition seeking the return of the property and naming the pawnbroker as a defendant may be filed with the Clerk of the County Court.

As we stated before, this can be difficult to accomplish without the assistance of a qualified legal professional.

What happens to the disputed property in the interim?

Until the matter is resolved, the pawnbroker is legally required to retain possession of the disputed property.

What happens if the person seeking the return of their property emerges victorious?

In the event the court rules in favor of the person seeking the return of their property -- i.e., the claimant -- the item will, of course, have to be returned by the pawnbroker. Furthermore, the law states that the claimant can also seek to recover their attorney fees from the pawnbroker.

What happens if the person seeking the return of their property loses?

In the event the court rules against the claimant, the item will, of course, not have to be returned by the pawnbroker. Furthermore, the law states that the claimant may also be held liable for the pawnbroker's attorney fees.

Does a pawnbroker have any options if they lose?

Yes, the law holds that if the person who originally sold the stolen property is convicted of theft, the court must order them to reimburse the pawnbroker for the full amount they were originally paid and cover their attorney fees.

Always remember that any type of theft charge can result in serious consequences both now and in the future. Consequently, it's imperative to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional should you find yourself in this situation. 

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