Gillette Auto Theft Defense Attorneys
Car theft has become a growing issue in Gillette, Wyoming. In 2020 the number of auto theft crimes increased from 726 to 964. In Wyoming law, WY Stat § 31-11-102 states that any person without specific permission from the owner wantonly, or maliciously takes possession of or drives a vehicle, whether intended for temporary use or permanent use, is guilty of a misdemeanor. This statue also applies to those who knowingly aid or assist another in doing so.
In Gillette, Wyoming if you are arrested for stealing an automobile, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the vehicle. For example, if the value of the car is less than $1,000, you will likely be charged with a misdemeanor, but if the vehicle’s value exceeds $1,000, a felony charge is more likely.
If you are charged with a misdemeanor you will be fined up to $750 and may serve up to 6 months in jail. Those who are charged with a felony or grand theft may be charged up to $10,000 and serve up to 10 years in jail. Generally speaking, most auto theft cases are considered to be felonies due to the expense of most vehicles.
The most common defense to auto theft is proving that the accused had the owner’s permission to operate the car. Having previous permission to drive a vehicle owned by someone else does not give you permanent permission to drive their car, but the court may give allowances for genuine misunderstandings and mistakes if it can be proven in court. In these cases, the accused may suffer less severe fees and punishments.
In some cases, the accused may claim that they were only taking the vehicle temporarily in order to accept a lesser charge, for example, joyriding. However, this is not always possible. Other common defenses to auto theft accusations include:
- The defendant did not have the opportunity to steal the car. This can be shown if the defendant was not in possession of the car when it was stolen, or if the defendant did not have access to the car.
- The defendant did not have the means to steal the car. This can be proven simply if the defendant did not have the keys to the car, or if the car was locked.
- The defendant did not have the opportunity to sell the car. If the car was recovered before it could be sold, or if the defendant did not have the means to transport the car, they may be able to accept a lesser charge.
If you have been accused of auto theft, it is important to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the criminal justice system, protect your rights, and build a strong defense. Accomplished attorneys can also investigate the facts of your case and gather evidence to support your innocence. If you are facing serious charges, a theft crime lawyer can negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf and help you avoid a conviction. No matter what your situation is, a lawyer can provide you with invaluable guidance and support.
Steven Titus & Associates, P.C. has a proven track record of success in the courtroom and will work hard to find a resolve. Call (307) 464-7055 to schedule a consultation today.
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