Gilbert is a town in Maricopa County, Arizona known as the "Hay Shipping Capital of the World." Only 76 square miles, Gilbert rapidly changed over two decades from an agricultural center with a population of 5,717 in 1980 to a diverse suburb of 208,453 in 2010. A number of famous sports and entertainment figures are from Gilbert, including Chester Bennington (singer in the band Linkin Park), the baseball player Dave Burba, American Pro Wrestler Roy Wayne Farris, Miss America 2008 Kimberly Joiner, and Spencer Larsen of the Denver Broncos. In spite of its population growth, Gilbert has a relatively low crime rate. However, if you are accused of a crime, it is wise to consult with experienced Gilbert criminal defense attorney James Novak before speaking to the police or prosecution.

Car Theft in Gilbert

Although violent crime is low in Gilbert, property crimes such as auto theft do occur. Auto theft is taken very seriously. It can be charged even if you borrow or purchase a car that is stolen or otherwise obtained unlawfully. The Arizona Vehicle Theft Task Force supports Arizona law enforcement officers in their investigation of vehicle theft.

Arizona Revised Statute section 13-1814 defines "theft by means of transportation," which is a class 3 felony. A person can commit vehicle theft under this statute in one of five ways. The first way is to control someone else's means of transportation, intending to permanently deprive that person of using the vehicle. The second possible way occurs when a defendant converts someone else's means of transportation that is entrusted to his possession for a limited use. The third possible way to commit this crime is to take someone else's means of transportation by committing fraud, with the intention of permanently depriving the original owner of the vehicle. A fourth way is to appropriate a lost vehicle without reasonably attempting to notify the true owner. A fifth type of theft by means of transportation is to control a stolen vehicle, with reason to know it is stolen.

If you are charged with vehicle theft for the first time, you may be offered probation with up to 1 year in jail or a prison term of 2 to 8.75 years. However, the penalty increases dramatically if this is your second or third offense. Someone with one prior conviction may be sentenced with 3.5 to 16.25 years of incarceration. With two prior convictions, you may be sentenced up to to 25 years of incarceration.

Possible Defenses to Auto Theft in Arizona

A knowledgeable attorney can develop a number of potential defenses to auto theft charges depending upon the circumstances of your case. Sometimes someone has had consent to borrow a car in the past and the other person rescinds the permission as a result of a fight or break in the relationship. An attorney may be able to show that an element of the charge is missing. For example, if you are sold or loaned a stolen vehicle and have no reason to believe it is stolen, you may be able to defend on the grounds of mistake or get the charge reduced to the lesser offense of joyriding. There may be other possible defenses to charges brought against you such as improper police procedures or violations of constitutional rights. These include challenges on the basis of your Miranda rights, fingerprinting analysis, inaccurate crime scene reconstruction, false statements, and impeachment of witnesses, among others.

Trust a Knowledgeable Gilbert Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with auto theft or any other crime, you should contact a knowledgeable Gilbert criminal defense lawyer to review the facts of your particular case and to develop a strong and strategic defense. An experienced attorney may find that the police have made errors in police procedure, or that the alleged facts do not meet all required elements of the charged offense. Contact James Novak at (480) 413-1499 or via our online form for your free consultation today.