Being wrongly accused of something can be frustrating, and if the accusation is that you broke the law, then the results can be the loss of your freedom. At Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S., we understand the stress and anxiety one goes through if you’ve been charged with a crime—especially if you didn’t do it.
If you’ve been charged with car theft or unlawful borrowing of a car, these are felony charges that can carry prison terms and thousands of dollars in fines. However, you have rights under the law, and one of them is that the state has to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. If you didn’t do it, then we will make sure that your rights are protected and the truth gets told.
Car Theft Charges
In Washington State, there are two primary auto theft charges that the state will level when someone is accused of stealing an automobile.
This is a class B felony with a fine up to $20,000 and 10 years in prison. There are three elements the state needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to convict you of motor vehicle theft:
- Wrongfully obtaining or exerting unauthorized control over
- Someone else’s vehicle
- With the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle
All three of these need to be proven before the court can convict you of the charge. If you got in your friend’s vehicle and moved it as a joke and if he didn’t have your sense of humor and pressed charges, the state could prove that you wrongfully took someone else’s car, but not be able to prove that you had the intent to deprive the owner of the vehicle.
However, you might still be charged with a lesser crime.
Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle (Joyriding)
If you took a car from someone else to just go out and ride around, but then you returned it, you can be charged with a lesser crime of unauthorized use of a vehicle. This is a class C felony with a $5,000 fine and 5 years in prison.
To prove this, the prosecutor must prove that you wrongfully took another car without permission. If you believed that you had permission then the jury could find that you didn’t take the car without permission.
Talk to a Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you’ve been wrongly accused of taking someone’s car, you need to talk to our own Dean Chuang, a successful and well-respected criminal defense attorney. Dean knows how to build a tough and resilient defense plan supported by the facts and the law. Our goal is to help you achieve the best outcome for your case whether it’s a reduction of charges or acquittal.
You can contact us to arrange for a free consultation and case review where we will listen to your side of the story. Then we’ll discuss options based on the facts and the law. Remember that if you’re accused of a crime, invoke your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and insist on having an attorney present during any interrogation.
We’re experienced, effective, and respected by both judges and prosecutors and you contact us right away to speak with a Spokane criminal defense attorney from our offices.