Grand Theft Auto in Texas
San Antonio Theft Lawyer Relentlessly Fighting for Your Rights
Make sure you get the legal protection you need after you are charged with
grand theft auto. Contact a theft
defense attorney in San Antonio as soon as possible! At my firm, the Law Office of Kerrisa
Chelkowski, I am devoted to providing
tough defense and effective counsel for individuals who have been charged with
Texas does not have a separate class of crimes for theft of automobiles.
Rather, car thefts fall under the state's category of general theft
laws, and are distinguished between petty thefts and grand thefts. Petty
thefts are typically misdemeanors that are punishable by up to one year
in jail, while grand thefts are typically felonies that are punishable
by one year or more in prison. In Texas, thefts are classified depending
upon the value and nature of the property that is taken. The more valuable
the property that is taken is, the more serious the punishment that follows will be.
How is one convicted of grand theft auto, and what are the penalties?
In order for an individual to be convicted of grand theft auto, the prosecution
must be able to prove that:
- The vehicle taken belongs to someone else
- The defendant took or drove the vehicle without permission
- The defendant had the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle
Punishment for grand theft auto can vary from a fine of up to $500 to life
imprisonment. Most motor vehicle thefts are punishable by 180 days to
10 years in state jail, as well as by a fine up to $10,000. The penalties
for grand theft auto can increase if the defendant used a weapon during
the crime or had a prior felony conviction. If the defendant has at least
two prior theft convictions, his or her auto theft offense will become
a state jail felony.
Grand Theft Auto Defense: Intent & Consent
There are two primary defenses that are used when it comes to grand theft
auto cases. The first is that the defendant did not
intend to permanently deprive the owner of the car. The second is that the owner gave
consent for his or her vehicle to be taken.
Intent: If the individual takes a vehicle but intends to return it to the owner,
he or she has not committed theft. Rather, the individual has unlawfully
taken or driven a car—also known as joyriding. Joyriding is typically
charged as a misdemeanor and results in less serious penalties than theft.
Consent: If the owner of the vehicle gave consent to the person who took the car,
there is no crime. However, just because the owner previously gave the
defendant consent, this does not mean that the defendant had consent to
drive the vehicle in this particular circumstance.
In other cases, the defendant may argue that he or she was charged due
to mistaken identity. For example, there may have been blurry video evidence
that led to the wrong person being arrested. Or, there may be evidence
that the defendant was framed by the alleged victim or by someone else.
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Regardless of what your situation entails, in retaining my services, you
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When your future is at stake, do not wait to take action!
Contact my firm today to schedule your
free case evaluation and find out about your options.