Motor vehicle theft occurs in Greeley, Fort Lupton, and Windsor when a person takes another's car without permission. This can be done behind the owner's back, after a threat is made towards them, or simply when they haven't said it's okay to use the vehicle. Whether you've been accused of stealing a neighbor's car, a friend's truck, or even a company vehicle, contacting a Weld County criminal lawyer is an important step in protecting your future. Penalties in these cases can be severe, depending on what exactly a defendant did with the vehicle after it was allegedly stolen. There are defenses to both degrees of aggravated motor vehicle theft that may apply to your unique situation.
What Does Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft Mean in Colorado?
Colorado law prohibits taking control of someone else's vehicle without authorization, or by threat or deception. CRS 18-4-409 defines aggravated motor vehicle theft in Weld, Larimer, and Morgan County. Law enforcement will pursue 1st degree aggravated motor vehicle theft charges if they believe you:
- stole a car, truck, or van,
- AND kept it for 24+ hours or took it out of Colorado for 12+ hours,
- used it to commit a crime, injure another, or cause $500+ of damage,
- or attempted to disguise or alter the vehicle, the license plates, or VIN
Incidents that don't include the additional factors above are charged as 2nd degree aggravated motor vehicle theft. A motor vehicle is any vehicle propelled by a motor (other than muscle), except those running on rails. Taking control of a sedan, SUV, truck, van, or motorcycle all apply as auto theft if done without permission from the owner.
Jail Time for Motor Vehicle Theft in Weld County
Each auto theft case in Greeley, Evans, and Windsor is different. Consequences won't always be similar. If a vehicle under $20K was taken and aggravating factors weren't present, a defendant faces:
- up to 18 months of incarceration,
- fines of up to $100K,
- a period of probation or parole
However, once the vehicle's value reaches or exceeds $20,000, up to a 6 year prison sentence can apply. The only scenario where Colorado auto theft isn't a felony is when the vehicle's value is under $2,000 and it wasn't altered, used for another offense, taken out of the state, or kept for more than a day.
Greeley's Top Criminal Defense Attorney
Seeking skilled representation in a motor vehicle theft case is wise. Defendants are sometimes falsely accused or overcharged, opening up harsh sentencing parameters that shouldn't apply to each and every case. Perhaps you did in fact have permission to use the vehicle, another person took the car, or you didn't know you lacked authorization. Nevertheless, contact Sawyer Legal Group today to discuss your case with Greeley's top criminal defense attorneys. We will carefully analyze the circumstances of your case, answer your questions, and suggest next steps in your defense. We offer same-day jail visits, affordable fees, and flexible payment plans for those facing auto theft charges in Greeley, Fort Collins, Boulder, and throughout northern Colorado.
Don't talk to police about motor vehicle theft - talk to us. 303-830-0880
Photo by Jeremy Bezanger