Auto theft is a very serious type of charge. It does carry penalties of jail time and a fine. It can leave a person with a criminal record should they be convicted and that impacts a person’s civil rights, their job, security clearance, and situations where a person has a CDL or they drive for work and should not have any criminal record. Working with a Fairfax auto theft lawyer can help you avoid these consequences. A skilled Fairfax theft lawyer can offer sound legal advice on the situation.
Fairfax auto theft penalties are harsh, especially for a second offender. For a second offender, the issue is with the prior conviction. If someone already has a criminal record, this automatically can come in as impeachable evidence against them if they are going to testify. It hinders the defendant’s ability to testify on their behalf. The issue becomes whether or not this prior conviction is going to impeach the person’s credibility. It may hinder the person’s ability to testify on their behalf. In a scenario where there is only the assailant and the police officer, only the defendant is going to be able to speak on their behalf, which hinders the ability of a person to speak on their behalf.
Auto theft does not have a separate code section, so it does not have different elements that the prosecutor has to prove. They go by the statute for larceny. The elements of larceny are, one, the unlawful taking of property, two, a property that belongs to someone else and three, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of that property. Intending to borrow a car for an errand and taking it back is not larceny and not auto theft. There has to be intent to permanently convert the use of the car to one’s use.
In terms of how they are charged, if the value of the item or the car in question is less than $200, it would be a Class 1 misdemeanor. The prosecutor will have to show the value of the item that was taken. If it is more than $200, it is the higher penalty-type of larceny that carries at least one year in jail and 20 years in jail as the maximum penalty. There are the ways that Fairfax auto theft penalties are delegated.
If it is a third offender accused of auto theft, there is the issue of impeachment by a prior conviction. There is also the aggravation of the charge. If it is aggravated, it goes from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a felony, regardless of the value of the item. As with larceny, the division of how a person is charged is based on the value of the item and auto theft is similar to that. Regardless of the value of the item, if there is a third conviction, the charge is aggravated from a misdemeanor to a felony with a first conviction. Third offenders see especially severe Fairfax auto theft penalties.
Auto theft is one of the lower-level types of car theft crimes. Carjacking is the most serious. Auto theft is not as bad because there is not a violent element. Auto theft requires that the car is unoccupied at the time or the motor vehicle is occupied and a person takes that car without violence or threat of violence. For that reason, Fairfax auto theft penalties are not as severe, but it is still a serious theft crime because it is charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor or a felony in some cases. It is not the highest level of car theft crime, but it is still serious.