Police departments in Texas have been cracking down on auto theft. The Houston Police Department’s Auto Theft Division’s Vehicle Fraud Unit has had a banner year in preventing auto theft. In 2021, the unit prevented nearly two million dollars worth of vehicles from being stolen through fraud. They also stop 33 potential suspects from purchasing Vehicles using stolen or fake identities. Since 2018, they have prevented over $5 million in vehicle fraud. Officers had built partnerships with local car dealerships, training them to identify fraud. Law enforcement agencies in the Dallas-Fort Worth area plan to implement many of these tactics.
Facing Charges for Vehicle Theft in Texas
Many states have separate laws covering motor vehicle theft. Texas is unique because auto theft is not covered by one specific statute. Depending on the circumstances of the alleged theft, a person may be charged under multiple criminal statutes. The laws around auto theft can become complicated because a person can be charged under multiple criminal statutes. You may be surprised that you have been accused of fraud.
If you have been charged with any crime related to auto theft, it is important that you discuss your case with an attorney as soon as possible. There are multiple considerations your attorney will need to investigate and examine. Perhaps the prosecution has charged you with a felony when you should have been charged with a misdemeanor. The following factors will be important when prosecutors determine the severity of the charges:
What was the value of the vehicle?
Was the vehicle’s owner present?
Did you have consent to drive the vehicle?
The answers to these questions will determine the severity of your charges and the consequences you will face if you are convicted.
Fraudulent Transfer of a Motor Vehicle
In Texas, the fraudulent transfer of a motor vehicle is a state jail felony. The fraudulent transfer of a motor vehicle happens when a vehicle is sold or taken without the consent of the owner. This can involve leases, subleases, car sales, and property transfers involving automobiles. In Texas, the fraudulent transfer of a motor vehicle can be a third-degree felony charge if the value of the vehicle fraudulently transferred is over $20,000. The penalty for a third degree felony is two to 10 years in prison.
Those convicted face fines of up to $10,000. To secure a conviction, prosecutors must prove that the defendant intentionally sold or purchased a vehicle with the intent to defraud the owner or buyer. This is not always straightforward, and you need an experienced attorney on your side.
Contact a Dallas/ Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you are facing charges for grand theft auto, fraudulent transfer of a motor vehicle, or any other auto-related crime in Texas, Abel Law Firm is here to help. Our criminal defense attorneys will carefully review your case and help you understand your legal rights while protecting you and your interest. Contact our Dallas-Fort Worth law firm today to schedule your initial consultation and learn more about our services.