Grand Theft Auto
Grand theft auto, thanks to popular films and video games, has entered into the public nomenclature as an entertainment property more than as a serious criminal offense. But make no mistake, here in Florida, grand theft of an automobile is not an enjoyable criminal charge to be facing. People rely on and value their vehicles, and the theft of those same vehicles often carry significant hardships for victims. Thanks to the seriousness of the offense, convictions for grand theft auto can result in serious penalties, so it is important to consult with a dedicated Sarasota criminal defense lawyer right away.
When most people think of grand theft auto, they think of the enjoyable and popular video game franchise. The game get's its name thanks to the common game mechanic of stealing and carjacking motor vehicles. Grand theft auto however as an actual crime in the state of Florida is significantly different than what is depicted in popular media. This is one of the crimes that illustrates the importance of consulting with an experienced lawyer instead of simply relying on one's knowledge from popular culture to understand criminal offenses and the criminal justice system.Elements of Grand Theft Auto
Grand theft auto occurs when a defendant knowingly obtains or uses the property of another with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the owner of the right to use the property or to appropriate the property for his or her own use. In the case of grand theft auto, the property in question must be a motor vehicle. Especially in Florida, where reliable and accessible public transportation is hard to come by grand theft auto is treated more seriously by the justice system because automobiles are often the only reliable form of transportation for many of our State's residents. Nevertheless, grand theft auto charges have many potential defenses that a dedicated Sarasota criminal defense lawyer may be able to exploit on your behalf.
The penalties for grand theft auto can be significant. Theft offenses are usually separated in degrees based on the amount of value stolen. For example, theft of property under $750 dollars will typically constitute a misdemeanor petit theft punishable by no more than one year in county jail. Felony charges can be levied against a defendant charged with stealing property valued above that amount. Grand theft auto charges are always felonies regardless of the value of the motor vehicle. A third degree felony grand theft auto charge can result in a prison sentence of up to five years in prison.Defenses to Grand Theft Auto
The criminal charge of grand theft auto is most often brought against people caught driving around in stolen cars. Police routinely drive around randomly running license plate tags and when a tag read indicates that a car is stolen they will initiate a traffic stop. The time following the traffic stop is imperative to your case. It is important to remember that the simple possession of a suspected stolen car is not enough to convict a person of grand theft auto. Whenever a police officer pulls you over, make sure not to answer any questions without first speaking with a dedicated Sarasota criminal defense lawyer. Anything you say will be used against you in your prosecution, and defendants' admissions to police is the most common form of evidence used to secure convictions.Speak With Our Lawyers Today
The attorneys at Hanlon Law have years of experience defending clients in high stakes criminal prosecutions. We dedicate our time to protecting the futures of our clients and ensuring the best possible outcome in each individual case. Don't turn your case over to someone you don't trust. Let us be your advocate and build the best defense for your case. Call today for a consultation at 941.462.1789.