Motor vehicle theft is a very common charge in Jackson and all around the Metro Area. Taking a vehicle without permission with the intent of permanently or temporarily depriving the owner of the vehicle can get you slapped with motor vehicle theft charges. In most cases, due to the monetary value of automobiles, motor vehicle theft is almost always a felony. This means that if you’re convicted, in addition to hefty fines, you could spend more than a year in a correctional facility. Since many cases of so-called motor vehicle theft can be misinterpreted, whether it was a misunderstanding between family members or retracted permission from a friend with a car, it’s important to speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you’re facing motor vehicle theft charges.Types of Motor Vehicles
It’s equally important to understand what doesn’t count as motor vehicle theft. A teen joyriding in his parents’ car in the middle of the night wouldn’t typically be considered motor vehicle theft. That teen might be facing other repercussions, but felony charges for grand theft auto probably won’t be included. Misunderstandings between family members might also not be considered motor vehicle theft. If you share a car with somebody in the family, and that person takes the car at a time when you weren’t expecting them to, with the full intent to bring the vehicle back, that wouldn’t be classified as motor vehicle theft. In order to be classified as motor vehicle theft, the person has to either steal or attempt to steal the vehicle with absolutely no intent to return. It’s also important to note that if the vehicle is taken by force, that would fall under the category of carjacking.What About Consent?
If you had permission to use somebody’s vehicle, then you shouldn’t be charged with motor vehicle theft. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to hear about vehicle owners, especially friends and family members, to change their mind after the fact. This type of misunderstanding can happen after a falling out of some sort. Try to have an open line of communication with anybody you’re borrowing a car from to ensure there are no misunderstandings. That being said, anybody can change their mind after the incident in question. Equally important, you need to understand that just because you had permission to use the vehicle previously, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you had permission to use it this time. It will be important to speak with your lawyer about the unique individual circumstances of your case.What About Intent?
Like most criminal charges, the element of intent is crucial for making a conviction. Can the prosecution prove that you intended to permanently or temporarily keep the vehicle from his or her owner? If this was a case of borrowing a car from a family member or friend, you might be facing other charges, but in order for it to be a case of motor vehicle theft, there has to be proof that you intended on depriving the owner of the vehicle from his or her vehicle.Penalties Associated With Motor Vehicle Theft
In the State of Mississippi, a motor vehicle theft conviction can result in up to 10 years in prison. That is for first-time offenders. For a second or third offense, you can expect to see up to 15 years in prion and fines up to $10,000. A felony conviction can also have a serious impact on your life and your future. From voting restrictions and difficulties finding a job to background checks and problems applying for loans, a felony conviction can follow you forever. Depending upon the unique circumstances of your case, you could be facing additional charges too.When to Call a Jackson Criminal Defense Lawyer
Whether you’re facing a charge of motor vehicle theft, carjacking or joyriding, the sooner you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney about your case, the better chances you have at a positive outcome. After any type of arrest, remember to exercise your right against self-incrimination. Ask to speak with your attorney, and don’t answer any interrogation questions until your criminal defense lawyer is present. It could keep you out of jail.
If you or a loved one has been charged with motor vehicle theft in Jackson or in any of the surrounding Metro Area communities, contact the experienced criminal defense team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (877) 231-1600 for an immediate case consultation.