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Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft

Car thieves could be charged with aggravated motor vehicle theft in Colorado. Stealing another’s car by threat, deception or without authorization is a crime. If you’re convicted, you might face felony-level consequences including years in prison. That is why it’s highly recommended you seek legal representation.

Aggravated motor theft could not only send you to prison but could lead to the revocation of your driver’s license for up to one year. Don’t let your life be defined by one bad mistake. If you or someone you know has been charged with aggravated motor vehicle theft, then it’s important you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Defense Lawyer for Grand Theft Auto in Colorado Springs, CO

Stealing a car has serious ramifications. You could be burdened with fines in the thousands be required to stay behind bars for years. To avoid this, you’ll need a sturdy defense. Find experienced theft defense attorneys by calling our team at Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC.

Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC is a group of lawyers who have a strong focus in criminal defense. We can suppress evidence, file motions and do whatever is needed to formulate a strong defense. Call us now at (719) 328-1616 to schedule a free consultation. We represent people throughout the greater Colorado Springs area including Calhan, Fountain and Manitou Springs.

Overview of Aggravated Motor Theft in Colorado


Types of Motor Vehicle Theft in Colorado

When you imagine stealing a car you usually think of hotwiring it or breaking a window to get in. However, this isn’t the only method used to steal cars. Offenders can also use deception or threats to obtain a vehicle and can still be charged with aggravated motor vehicle theft.

Some common methods used to steal motor vehicles include:

  • Parked Vehicles: Normally when a parked vehicle is stolen, the suspect has planned the theft and is usually looking for a specific vehicle. This could be because the vehicle is easy to sell, they’re familiar with it or its parts are valuable. The suspect may also look for a vehicle that is parked in an un-secured area, in the dark or otherwise unattended.
  • Vehicles left Running: In this situation the vehicle owner will start their vehicle and leave it running unattended, so that the vehicle can warm up. In Colorado, many vehicles are stolen because the owner is merely warming the vehicle up, the owner starts the vehicle and goes back into their home to finish coffee or finish getting ready for work. Many states have made it illegal to leave a car running including Colorado.
  • Carjacking: Carjacking occurs when the vehicle is forcefully taken from the owner.  This occurs many times at intersections when the vehicle owner is stopped.  The suspect or suspects force the driver out (or to move over) and a suspect then begins to drive the vehicle.  This is a very serious situation because often weapons are used, and the car owner may be harmed.
  • Identity Theft: Another concern involved with stolen vehicles is identity theft.  Identity theft occurs when a suspect takes the personal information of another and uses that information to gain access to financial accounts, credit accounts, or other means to gain access to the owner’s property.  Because most vehicles contain personal information on the owner, the stolen vehicle suspect also has this information.

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What Does Colorado Consider to Be Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft?

Stealing another person’s vehicle without authorization through threats, violence, or deceit is aggravated motor vehicle theft. The crime is also known as grand theft auto in other states. Aggravated motor vehicle includes vehicles propelled or powered by any other method by muscular. So, items such as bicycles or horse carriages would not be considered vehicles.

The state of Colorado classifies motor vehicle theft under two degrees; second or first-degree aggravated motor vehicle theft. Stealing a car without any aggravating factors such as causing bodily injury is second-degree aggravated motor vehicle theft. For example, if you “borrow” your parent’s car without permission, you could be charged with second-degree aggravated motor vehicle theft.

You’re guilty of first-degree aggravated motor vehicle theft if you:

  • Possess or retain control of the vehicle for more than 24 hours;
  • Attempt to alter or disguise the vehicle;
  • Attempt to remove or alter the vehicle’s identification number (VIN);
  • Use the motor vehicle in the commission of a crime other than a traffic violation;
  • Cause $500 or more in property damage from the crime;
  • Inflict bodily injury to another person while you’re committing the crime; or
  • Remove the vehicle from the state of Colorado for over 12 hours; or
  • Unlawfully attach or display license plates other than those lawfully issued to the vehicle

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Penalties for Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft in Colorado

A conviction for aggravated motor vehicle theft is incredibly serious. You could be burdened with expensive fines and even prison or jail time. The penalties for stealing a car depends on the classification of the offense, the value of the vehicle stolen and your criminal record.

It’s important to know your license will be automatically revoked for one year if you’re convicted of either degree for motor vehicle theft. Multiple offenses could lead to the revocation of your license for years.


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Second-Degree Motor Vehicle Theft Penalties in Colorado

The consequences for second-degree aggravated motor vehicle theft depend on the vehicle’s value. If the motor vehicle is valued at $20,000 or more, then it’s a class 5 felony. The penalties associated with a class 5 felony include:

  • Up to 3 years in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $100,000

Stealing a motor vehicle that is valued between $1,000 and $20,000 is a class 6 felony. The consequences of a class 6 felony conviction include:

  • Up to 18 months in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $100,000

The crime is a class 1 misdemeanor if the motor vehicle valued at less than $1,000. A class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by:

  • Up to 18 months in jail; and
  • A fine of up to $5,000

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First-Degree Motor Vehicle Theft Penalties in Colorado

The penalties for first-degree motor vehicle theft depend on the value of the car and your criminal record. First-degree motor vehicle theft is a class 5 felony if the car was valued at less than $20,000. The penalties for a class 5 felony include:

  • Up to 3 years in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $100,000

Your penalties will be enhanced to a class 4 felony if the car involved was valued between $20,000 and $100,000. A class 4 felony is punishable by:

  • Up to 6 year in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $500,000

First-degree aggravated motor vehicle theft is a class 3 felony if:

  • The car was valued at $100,000 or more; OR
  • You have two prior aggravated motor vehicle theft convictions in Colorado or have two similar offense convictions in another state

A class 3 felony can result in:

  • Up to 12 years in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $750,000

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Additional Resources

Colorado Crime Statistics – Visit the official website of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to gain access to their crime statistics. Enter the site to learn more about how they collect data, their Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR), and a link to their online crime statistics engine.

Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft Laws – Visit the official website of the Colorado Revised Statutes to learn more about grand theft auto offenses. Access their laws to learn the charge specifics, penalties and admissible defenses for aggravated motor vehicle theft in Colorado.


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Grand Theft Auto Attorneys in El Paso County, Co

If you or someone you know has been charged with stealing a motor vehicle, it’s imperative you seek trusted legal representation. You will need strong legal counsel to fight your charges. To do this, it’s recommended you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney.

The defense lawyers at Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC have years of knowledge from practicing in Colorado’s criminal courts. We can use our skills to help you. Call us now at (719) 328-1616 to schedule a consultation. Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC defends people throughout the El Paso County area including Denver County and Arapahoe County.


 

Law Offices of Clifton Black, P.C.