Fort Worth Grand Theft Auto Attorney
Many people refer to the act of stealing a car as “grand theft auto.” However, unlike several other states, Texas does not have a separate law for a charge called grand theft auto. Instead, there are different types of charges that might apply to vehicle theft, depending on the alleged circumstances. If you are charged with any type of offense relating to auto theft, you should not delay in seeking help from an experienced Fort Worth grand theft auto attorney. Contact the law office of Kyle Whitaker as soon as possible.
Auto Theft Charges in Texas
Because there is not a specific law for grand theft auto, stealing a vehicle is charged under the general theft statute in Texas. You can face such charges if the prosecutor alleges that you took someone else’s vehicle without permission and with the intention of permanently keeping it. You might also face theft charges if you fail to return a rental car, buy a vehicle with proper title, and similar situations.
The penalties for theft convictions in Texas depend on the value of the property stolen. You could face the following depending on the value of the vehicle:
- Under $500 = Class B misdemeanor
- $500 to $1,500 = Class A misdemeanor
- $1,500 to $20,000 = State jail felony
- $20,000 to $100,000 = Third-degree felony
- $100,000 to $200,000 = Second-degree felony
- Over $200,000 = First-degree felony
The consequences can be quite different if you are accused of stealing a 1995 Cavalier versus a brand-new Maserati.
Other Auto Theft-Related Charges
Not all charges will be under the theft statute, as there are other options for the prosecutor based on different situations.
Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle
The unauthorized use of a vehicle entails operating a vehicle without the owner’s permission, even if you return the vehicle afterward. This is commonly referred to as “joyriding.” Even if an 18-year-old borrows their parent’s car for a few hours without consent, they can face this type of criminal charge.
Sometimes, a prosecutor will charge auto theft as unauthorized use of a vehicle because this charge does not require them to prove that you intended to permanently deprive the owner. In addition, this might be a charge if the value of the vehicle is low since this charge is a state jail felony.
Taking a vehicle when the owner is present by using force or the threat of force is often called “carjacking,” and in Texas, this is charged under the general robbery statute. Robbery is considered to be a violent crime and is typically charged as a second-degree felony. If you are accused of having a deadly weapon or other aggravating factors, the charge can be escalated to a first-degree felony.
Discuss Your Charges with an Aggressive Fort Worth Grand Theft Auto Lawyer
There are different ways to defend against charges related to auto theft in Texas, and Fort Worth grand theft auto attorney Kyle Whitaker can review your case and protect your rights. Call 817-332-7703 or contact us online today.