Auto Theft Defense Lawyer in Phoenix
Arizona's Auto Theft Laws: Theft of a Means of Transportation
Auto theft is a serious crime classified under Arizona Revised Statutes §13-1803 and §13-1814. There are important differences to note regarding each allegation of auto theft. For example if a person is accused of stealing a car and they are the driver of the vehicle, the law considers it to be "theft of means of transportation (TOMOT)," which is a class 3 felony.
Usually, prosecutors charge cases such as this by alleging that a person controlled another individual's vehicle while knowing or having reason to know that the vehicle is stolen. If someone is charged for being a passenger in a stolen vehicle, the prosecutor normally charges them with "unlawful use of means of transportation (UMOT)," which is a class 5 felony.
Facing Auto Theft Charges?
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Auto Theft Defense Strategies
When a person is charged with TOMOT or UMOT, it usually was an incident where police located the alleged offender in a car that was stolen. However, in order to be convicted of any variation of auto theft, the prosecutor needs more evidence than the simple fact that the person was found in a stolen car. The State needs to prove that the person actually knew or had reason to know that the car was stolen. There are often many explanations for why a person was in a stolen car while not knowing the car was stolen. Police typically look for signs that the car had been tampered with, such as a punched door lock, a damaged steering column, jiggle keys, or broken windows. Additionally, police will try to get people to make statements or admissions as further evidence that person knew the car was stolen.
Know Your Rights
It is very important to know your rights if you are pulled over by the police, beginning with your right to avoid incriminating yourself. This is why you should never subject yourself to police questioning and you should always demand a lawyer. If you are charged with an auto theft-related crime, you could face many years in prison or many years of probation with lengthy jail terms.
Contacting a Phoenix Criminal Lawyer
Most prosecutor agencies have specialized attorneys and trial groups devoted to prosecuting auto theft-related crimes. These prosecutors work hand-in-hand with police in order to achieve a high level of convictions. The attorneys at MayesTelles PLLC are experienced in handling auto theft crimes and could be instrumental in achieving an acquittal of your charges or negotiating an outcome of your case that is in your best interest.
Contact a criminal lawyer in Phoenix today to see how MayesTelles can help!