Philadelphia Lawyer for Auto Theft
Auto Theft, more commonly referred to as car theft, is the taking of a car that does not belong to you when you do not have permission to use the car. There are different types of auto theft, and the penalties change accordingly. In Pennsylvania, the difference between penalties depends on how a person steals the car, whether you keep the car, the value of the car, and whether you used violence in the commission of the crime. Depending on where you fall on these factors, you can be charged with anywhere between a misdemeanor of the third degree and a felony of the first degree.
AUTO THEFT - NO VIOLENCE ALLEGED
When a person steals a car, it is treated just like any other theft in Pennsylvania. Depending on the value of the car, you can be charged with misdemeanor theft (value of the car under $2,000), or a Felony of the Third Degree (value of the car over $2,000).
The most commonly seen non-felony for auto theft is a misdemeanor of the first degree because most cars are not valued at under $1,000. If you are charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree, you could be looking at a potential of up to 5 years in jail. However, most car thefts are charged as felonies of the third degree because the cars are valued at over $2,000. In that case, you are looking at a potential of up to 7 years in jail for stealing the car.
In order to prove theft, the government needs to prove that you stole the car with the intention of keeping it. This can be proven directly or indirectly. For example, if they catch a person in a stolen car, it is evidence of the intent to keep the car.
TAKING A CAR USING FORCE IS ROBBERY
If a person uses force, whether it is slight force, or merely the perception of force, to steal a car that person can be charged with Robbery. Robbery is the taking of property using force, however slight. If you are charged with Robbery, you can face anywhere between a maximum of 7 years to 20 years, depending on the type of Robbery you are charged with. If a gun is used, you are looking at even more jail time.
CARJACKING IS ALSO A SERIOUS OFFENSE
In Pennsylvania, carjacking is defined as the stealing of a car with the owner or authorized person present. This means that even the act of picking up someone's keys, running to the car, and taking it constitutes carjacking. This is a serious offense, graded as a Felony of the First Degree, punishable by up to 20 years in jail and up to a $25,000 fine. Many times, carjacking a robbery will be charged together.
Carjackings are most commonly done with force, so if you are charged with carjacking, you will also be likely charged with Robbery or Robbery of a Motor Vehicle.
CONTACT AN ATTORNEY TODAY TO IDENTIFY YOUR OPTIONS
It is also important to remember that you can be charged with many of the offenses above for one incident. As such, you need to be vigilant about protecting your rights. An experienced criminal defense attorney can identify if there are any issues you can use to fight the charges or obtain a favorable resolution of the case. The criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. have decades of experiences defending those accused of crimes.
If you have been accused of car theft, carjacking, joyriding, or failing to return your rental car, contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. today.
This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.