Defending Against Car Theft Charges
If you’ve been charged with auto theft in the state of Florida, you are facing some pretty stiff penalties. An attorney who is experienced in these kinds of cases can ensure that you get the best defense possible. Without a vigorous defense, you will be at the mercy of a prosecutor who has no qualms about throwing the book at you. Regardless of the circumstances or your alleged part in the crime, your future is on the line whenever you are facing criminal charges.
Target Cities in Florida
Every community experiences auto theft, but some cities see more of this crime than others. Topping the list in thefts per capita in Florida is Tallahassee, followed by Miami, Orlando, and Jacksonville.
Top Stolen Vehicles
Among the most frequently stolen vehicles in Florida are Ford F-series trucks and the Nissan Altima.
Auto Theft as a Juvenile
People have been stealing automobiles for as long as society has embraced the ownership of such vehicles. Nowadays, it is not uncommon for kids as ten or twelve to abscond with a vehicle that they find unlocked or idling. For them, it’s mostly about having a new toy and experimenting with speed and daring driving tactics. For these offenders, charges typically center on property crimes, with only minor repercussions.
Auto Theft as an Adult
For individuals who face auto theft charges after the age of 18, the consequences become exponentially more serious. Thieves often sell stolen vehicles for parts, and anyone associated with the crime is definitely facing jail time. Instead of being charged with a property crime, you’ll most likely be looking at grand theft auto charges. The prosecutor will attempt to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew the vehicle in question was unlawfully acquired, that you had intent to deprive the owner of the vehicle either permanently or temporarily, and that the vehicle was worth at least $300. The property involved could be a car or truck, but could also be a motorcycle, or semi-truck. It might also mean keeping a rental vehicle beyond the terms of the agreement. Penalties for such a crime may include a $5,000 fine and 5 years behind bars, as well as 6-month driver’s license suspension.
Carjacking is a first degree felony, and carries much heftier penalties (Fla. Stat. 812.52). In cases involving a weapon, perpetrators may face a life sentence and $15,000 fine. Even without a weapon, the potential penalty is 30 years behind bars and a $10,000 fine (Fla. Stat. 775.082, 775.083).
Let Us Help You Today
Clearly, you don’t want to leave your future to some court-appointed lawyer. At the Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A., our knowledgeable Kissimmee criminal attorneys will focus on protecting your rights in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for you. Contact our office today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.