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Motor Vehicle Theft in Denver | Experienced Criminal Defense

Posted by Kyle B. Sawyer | Jul 05, 2023 | 0 Comments

Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft

Motor vehicle theft in Denver is a crime that involves taking control of another person's car without permission. Doing so by threat or deception is also unlawful throughout Denver, Aurora, and Lakewood. Both adults and juveniles can find themselves charged with motor vehicle theft for even borrowing a car, truck, or van without permission from the owner. Acts of trying to alter or disguise the vehicle can significantly amplify the consequences. If you or someone you know has been accused of aggravated motor vehicle theft, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney should be your next step.

Denver Motor Vehicle Theft Laws

Denver's motor vehicle theft laws prohibit stealing a car from another person or taking a company's vehicle. CRS 18-4-409 defines the specific elements of auto theft in Denver, Arapahoe, and Jefferson County. You commit motor vehicle theft if you:

  • knowingly obtain or exercise control,
  • over another person's motor vehicle,
  • without authorization,
  • or by threat or deception 

Valets, parking attendants, and teenagers can commit this offense with a few missteps. Additionally, if any of the factors below apply, the situation increases to 2nd degree motor vehicle theft:

  • keeping the car for 24+ hours,
  • trying to disguise or alter the car's appearance,
  • tinkering with the VIN,
  • using the vehicle to commit another offense (other than a traffic crime),
  • causing $1,000+ of damage to property or the car itself,
  • causing bodily injury to someone,
  • taking the car out of Colorado for more than 12 hours,
  • or using license plates not specifically issued to that vehicle

How Serious is Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft in Colorado?

Each auto theft case is different. Penalties for a conviction won't always look the same. Consequences can depend on the defendant's prior criminal history. Motor vehicle theft is often a felony, possibly resulting in:

  • a prison sentence of 1 - 12 years,
  • fines of $1,000 - $750,000,
  • mandatory parole

If none of the aggravating factors above apply, no other crimes were committed, and the vehicle was returned to the owner or law enforcement within 24 hours, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle applies. This misdemeanor can lead to as many as 364 days in county jail and maximum fine of $1,000. It is important to note that a motor vehicle theft conviction revokes a defendant's driver's license for a year or more. 

Denver's Best Motor Vehicle Theft Lawyer

With penalties of this magnitude looming, hiring Denver's best motor vehicle theft lawyer is crucial to your future. We have decades of combined experience with complex theft cases and are prepared for your unique case. Our reviews stand alone. Perhaps you had permission to take the car, you're being falsely accused, or there was police misconduct. That said, contact our office for a free, confidential consultation. Our affordable fees and flexible payment plans make skilled, proven representation a reality in these uncertain times.

Don't talk to the police about motor vehicle theft allegations - talk to us. Sawyer Legal Group, LLC 303-830-0880

 Photo by Fabian Petersen

About the Author

Kyle B. Sawyer

I have a passion for defending others in criminal cases. I am able to empathize with my clients and understand their emotions and fears. I have a unique perspective on the criminal justice system and I understand what it feels like to be wrongly accused of a crime.


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