If you are facing criminal charges for motor vehicle theft in Arizona, call the motor vehicle theft attorneys at the Hallam Law Group as soon as soon as possible. The steps you take immediately after your arrest can have a lasting effect on your entire case. The best time to act is right away, as the penalties for a conviction can be severe. You may be facing anywhere from one to 15 years in prison depending on the circumstances of the incident, as well as significant fines and fees. Our Scottsdale defense attorneys can help you with every phase of your case, right from the beginning.
Arizona Criminal Code Section 13-1814 refers to motor vehicle theft as “theft of means of transportation.” The law says that knowingly controlling someone else’s means of transportation with the intent to deprive the owner of the vehicle is motor vehicle theft. It is also theft to control the vehicle or convert it for an unauthorized term when the owner has placed it in the defendant’s possession temporarily.
Obtaining someone else’s vehicle by means of material misrepresentation, such as saying you are an auto mechanic, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle, is also theft. Theft can also mean failing to take reasonable effort to notify the owner of a known lost vehicle that comes into the defendant’s possession. Finally, controlling another’s vehicle while knowing it’s stolen property is motor vehicle theft. Under Arizona law, motor vehicle theft is a Class 3 felony.
A different statute, Section 13-1813, refers to the unlawful failure to return a motor vehicle that’s subject to a security interest, such as a lien. This is different from motor vehicle theft in that the vehicle’s owner knowingly gave the vehicle to the defendant, but the defendant did not return it according to the terms of a loan or lease agreement. It is still an illegal action in Arizona that constitutes a class 6 felony.
The crime of “unlawful failure to return a vehicle” will only apply if the defendant doesn’t make a payment on the lien for more than 90 days, the creditor notifies the owner in writing, and the defendant fails to remedy the default within 30 days with the intent to knowingly prevent the enforcement of a security interest. All of these elements must exist for the prosecution to bring a charge against the defendant. The law will see the vehicle as stolen property if these elements do apply.
Police officers do not have the right to force you to talk without a lawyer present. It is completely within your rights to deny speaking to officers or investigators until a lawyer is present. Use your phone call to contact the Hallam Law Group at (602) 237-5373 as soon as you can. Generally, you will receive your one call after the Arizona police complete your booking at the department. Remember, however, that the police department can monitor phone calls.
The sooner you can talk to us, the better. We can give you immediate advice and counsel you through the next steps. Keep our phone number handy for times of need: (602) 237-5373. We’re available to chat over the phone or in person. We also take free evaluation requests online.