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Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle

There is no specific law that clearly defines or directly cites auto theft. With that said, auto theft, or “unauthorized use of a motor vehicle” charges, are handled as theft crimes with the penalty for those convicted based mainly on the value of the vehicle stolen, or “used without authorization.”

Auto theft cases can be charged as misdemeanor crimes if the value of the vehicle is below 1500.00; however, with most vehicles being worth dollar amounts that often go far north of 1500.00, most auto theft or “joyriding” cases are classified as felony theft offenses.

As you may well know, felony theft offenses carry criminal penalties that range from 180 days state jail to 99 years state penitentiary (TDCJ). If you or a loved one were accused of auto theft or another major theft offense, attorney Christian Capitaine might be able to assist you.

For more information, call the Capitaine Law Firm today at 832-767-4992 or call Mr. Capitaine on his personal cell phone at 832-618-7831.

Penalties for Theft & Auto Theft Offenses

CLASS B MISDEMEANOR

If the value of the vehicle is over 50.00, but less than 500.00, the offense will be classified as a Class B Misdemeanor. Penalties include a potential county jail sentence of up to 180 days in addition to fines of up to 2,000.00.

CLASS A MISDEMEANOR

If the value of the vehicle is over 500.00, but less than 1500.00, the offense will be classified a Class A Misdemeanor. Penalties include a potential county jail sentence of up to 1 year in addition to fines of up to 4,000.00.

STATE JAIL FELONY

If the value of the vehicle is over 1,500.00, but less than 20,000.00, the offense will be classified as a State Jail Felony. Penalties include a potential prison sentence of 180 days to 2 years in a correctional facility in addition to fines of up to 10,000.00.

3RD DEGREE FELONY

If the value of the vehicle is over 20,000.00, but less than 100,000.00, the offense will be classified as a 3rd Degree Felony offense. Penalties include a maximum fine of 10,000.00 and prison sentencing guidelines which range from 2 to 10 years.

2ND DEGREE FELONY

If the value of the vehicle is over 100,000.00, but less than 200,000.00, the offense will be classified as a 2nd Degree Felony offense, which carries a maximum fine of 10,000.00 with a potential jail term that can range from 2 to 20 years in prison.

1ST DEGREE FELONY

Enhanced 1st Degree Felony charges will apply if the value of the vehicle stolen is over 200,000.00. The penalties include a potential fine of up to 50,000.00 in addition to a prison term that ranges from 5 to 99 years.

Arrested for Auto Theft in Houston?

Accused of auto theft or another high-value theft offense in Houston?

You’ll need a lawyer.

Call attorney Christian Capitaine at 832-618-7831 for an immediate legal review of your case, the circumstances, and what the police added to their report.

Attorney Christian Capitaine has been dedicated to defending the people of Houston & Harris County, TX for over 15 years. If you need help, don’t hesitate to call the Capitaine Law Firm, experienced defense attorneys for persons facing auto theft accusations.

Houston Auto Theft Attorney, Christian Capitaine

Capitaine Law Firm

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