The state of Colorado has the third highest rate of auto theft in the country. While extensive efforts are in place across the state to help combat this crime, it is still prevalent in many areas.
If you are arrested for this crime, you may wonder, “Is vehicle theft a felony in Colorado?”
This is a good question and one that does not come with a black-and-white answer. The charges and potential penalties you face for auto theft depend on several factors. Contact our car theft lawyers to learn more.
In Colorado, auto theft is prosecuted as aggravated motor vehicle theft. If you are arrested for stealing a vehicle in the state, you can face first-degree or second-degree auto theft charges.
If you are wondering, what is the minimum sentence for grand theft auto in Colorado, you are in the right place.
You will face this charge if you knowingly steal a vehicle without authorization or use deception or threats. Additionally, you have:
You can face this charge if you knowingly steal a vehicle without authorization or use deception or threats. However, this charge applies if none of the listed elements above are involved.
First-degree theft of a motor vehicle in Colorado is always a felony charge.
Since it is a felony, it comes with a driver’s license revocation of one year. The fines are assessed, and the prison sentence depends on the value of the stolen vehicle.
The potential penalties for stealing a vehicle based on value include the following:
If the vehicle’s value is under $20,000, it is charged as a Class 5 felony. If convicted, you face a potential penalty of one to three years in prison, a two-year mandatory parole term, and fines of $1,000 to $100,000.
If the vehicle’s value is between $20,000 and $100,000, it is charged as a Class 4 felony. If convicted, the potential penalties for this crime include a prison sentence of two to six years with a mandatory three-year parole term and fines between $2,000 and $500,000.
If the vehicle’s value is $100,000 or higher, it is charged as a Class 3 felony. If convicted, the potential penalties for this crime include a prison sentence of four to 12 years with a mandatory five-year parole term and fines between $3,000 and $750,000.
An important note Is that if you are convicted of auto theft a third time, regardless of the vehicle’s value, it will always be charged as a Class 3 felony. This crime carries a potential punishment of four to 12 years in jail with a mandatory parole term of five years. You will also face fines of $3,000 to $750,000.
The potential penalties for a conviction of aggravated motor vehicle theft in the second degree can be either a misdemeanor or felony based on the vehicle’s value.
If the value of the vehicle stolen was less than $2,000, it is charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted, it carries a jail sentence of up to 364 days and fines of up to $1,000.
If the value of the vehicle stolen ranges from $2,000 to under $20,000, it is charged as a Class 6 felony. If convicted, it carries a jail sentence of one to one and a half years and a mandatory parole term of one year. You will also face fines of $1,000 to $100,000.
If the vehicle’s value is more than $20,000, upon conviction, you face a prison sentence of one to three years and a mandatory parole term of two years. You will also face fines of $1,000 up to $100,000.
If you are facing auto theft charges in Colorado, you may have more questions. Some of the questions that may be asked and answers are found here.
If you discover your car is stolen, make sure you are somewhere safe. The thief may still be around, and they may have a weapon.
Once you are sure you are safe, contact the authorities. Let the police know your vehicle has been stolen and provide any information you can about it. Some details to include in your report include the following:
Once you contact the authorities, file a claim with your auto insurance provider. You may also want to contact the Colorado DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles).
If your vehicle was leased or financed, be sure to notify the leasing company or lender. For situations where you had personal property in the vehicle, you can file a claim with your renter’s insurance or homeowner’s insurance policy.
Sometimes, vehicle owners leave their credit and debit cards in their vehicles. If this is the case, be sure to notify your creditors so they can watch for unauthorized purchases or cancel the cards so they cannot be used.
Some of the vehicles that are most reported stolen in Colorado include the following:
In some situations, the vehicles are stolen for the parts, especially the catalytic converters.
From 2017 to July 2022, there have been arrests for just 10 percent of car thefts in the state of Colorado. This means that if your car is stolen, the possibility of recovery is minimal.
If you have had questions like, “what is the difference between grand theft auto and auto theft,” you should have found the answers here. However, if you are in this situation, you may feel confused, overwhelmed, and even scared.
While this can be difficult, you must try to remain calm, take the right steps, and avoid some of the most common mistakes.
When you are arrested, you may be tempted to tell your side of the story. This is not a good idea. Not only will it not work, but you may say something that the police can use against you.
Instead, provide basic information, such as your name and home address, and then invoke your right to remain silent. This will ensure you do not say something that may be used to get a conviction for the crime you have been charged with.
You should not wait to contact an attorney. If you are charged with vehicle theft, you need someone to represent your interests and rights. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the sooner they can gather evidence for your case.
You may be tempted to share what happened on social media or even talk about it in the messenger app. This is also a bad idea. If found, anything you say here can be used against you. It may hurt your case and ability to minimize the charges you are facing.
Knowing what to expect is a good idea if you are facing vehicle theft charges in Colorado. The information here provides a good overview of what penalties you may face if you are convicted.
If you have more questions about the situation, such as, “What level of felony is grand theft auto,” contact the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani. Our legal team can review the facts of your case and get to work right away to help reduce or eliminate the charges against you.
We are here to help and will provide you with the aggressive defense you need for your case. Contact us today to set up an initial consultation to discuss your situation.