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Common Defenses A Criminal Defense Attorney May Use For A Grand Theft Auto Case

Grand theft auto, also called vehicle theft, is a crime that may be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the state you reside in, the value of the vehicle, and the circumstances surrounding how the vehicle came to be in your possession. If you have been charged with grand theft auto, a defense attorney may use a few different methods to help raise reasonable doubt as to whether a crime occurred. Here are three common defenses that may be raised by a criminal defense lawyer if you are facing grand theft auto charges. 

You Believed That You Had the Owner's Consent

One of the most common defenses used for grand theft auto cases is stating that you believed that you had the owner's consent to operate the motor vehicle. You may not have known the vehicle was stolen and believed it belonged to a friend who gave you permission to drive the vehicle, or a family member may have given you an open-ended invitation to use their car and you thought you had their permission to use it. A defense attorney may raise this defense if you reasonably believed you had the owner's consent to operate a car. 

You Did Not Intend to Permanently Deprive the Owner of Their Vehicle

In order to be charged and convicted of grand theft auto, the prosecution must show that you intended to permanently deprive the owner of their vehicle. If you took the vehicle out for a joy ride and intended on returning the vehicle, you may be found guilty of a lesser charge of joy riding and/or being in possession of stolen property. A criminal defense lawyer may use this defense to help prevent you from being convicted of a more serious grand theft auto charge. 

Entrapment By a Police Officer Occurred

Police officers often use bait cars and conducted stings to catch car thieves. While the police are allowed to do this, they cannot harass, intimidate, threaten, or coerce anyone into stealing a bait car, or they are entrapping a defendant. If a criminal defense attorney feels the police may have crossed the line and that caused you to steal an automobile, they may use this to help get the charges against you dismissed. 

If you have been charged with a crime, such as grand theft auto, reach out to a criminal defense attorney. They can get to work collecting evidence that may be used in conjunction with defenses to help get the charges against you dismissed or reduced or to increase the chances of you being found not guilty by a judge or a jury. Reach out to a criminal defense lawyer to start the process.