In Arizona, grand theft auto is called theft of means of transportation and it can carry severe penalties. If you’re facing theft of means of transportation charges in Arizona, contact a qualified Phoenix grand theft auto attorney at Stone Rose Law. The offense is defined by A.R.S. § 13-1814 and is a class 3 felony. A person commits theft of means of transportation if, without lawful authority, the person knowingly does one of the following:
Prosecutions according to #2 above typically arise as a result of people keeping rental cars longer than they contracted for. While people are not generally prosecuted for theft of means of transportation when they turn a rental car in late, keeping it for an inordinate amount of time can result in the initiation of criminal proceedings. In prosecutions of this type, the State does not have to prove that the defendant intended to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle. Rather, it need only prove that the defendant kept the vehicle longer than the term authorized by its owner.
With respect to #5 above, A.R.S. § 13-2305 allows the jury to infer that a defendant knew or had reason to know that the means of transportation at issue was stolen. For instance, if the defendant had possession of a recently stolen vehicle and could not provide a reasonable explanation as to how he got it, the jury is allowed to infer that he knew or at least had reason to know that it was stolen. Similarly, if a person had recently bought or sold the vehicle for a price substantially lower than its fair market value, and could not adequately explain it, the jury could infer that the person knew or had reason to know that the vehicle was stolen. Lastly, if the defendant was a dealer, who acquired the vehicle outside of the regular course of business, and without the usual indicia of ownership such as a title, the jury could infer that the dealer knew or had reason to know that the vehicle was stolen. Learn more about the different types of grand theft auto charges by speaking with a knowledgeable Phoenix criminal defense attorney experienced in defending against theft of means of transportation charges.
Theft of means of transportation is a very serious charge. In some theft of means of transportation prosecutions negotiations result in a plea offer to a lesser offense, such as theft or unlawful use of a means of transportation, a class 6 felony that if left undesignated can be reduced to a misdemeanor if the defendant completes probation successfully. If you have been investigated for, arrested for, or charged with theft of means of transportation, you need the assistance of an experienced trial lawyer. Stone Rose Law can help – call (480) 498-8998 now to schedule a free consultation with a grand theft auto attorney in Phoenix, AZ.