Auto Theft: What It Is, What You May Face, And How We Can Help

In Arizona, there are three types of motor vehicle theft crimes. How you present your defense could mean the difference between serving six months or seven years behind bars. Before we tell you how we can help you should grasp what it is you are being charged of and what you may face.

Theft Of Means Of Transportation Or Auto Theft

This occurs when a person knowingly and without legal authority:

  • Takes control of another’s vehicle with the intent to permanently deprive them of that vehicle
  • Uses another’s vehicle for an unauthorized period of time or unauthorized use and the vehicle has been entrusted to him
  • Obtains another’s vehicle using a material misrepresentation by either a lie or fraud with the intent to permanently deprive
  • Uses the vehicle when it was conveyed by mistake and makes no effort to notify the real owner
  • Takes control of a vehicle knowing or having reason to know that it is stolen


Penalty: Two to Seven years in prison

Unlawful Use Of Means Of Transportation (Joyriding)

You can commit the crime of unlawful use of means of transportation if you commit the following listed below without the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle:

  • Knowingly taking control of a vehicle without authorization by the owner
  • Knowingly rides or has reason to know that the vehicle he or she rides in is stolen or is not legally authorized to have possession of the vehicle


Penalty: Six months to Two years imprisonment

Unlawful Failure To Return Rented Or Leased Property

If you borrow or rent a vehicle and fail to return it within 72 hours of the agreed upon return time, you can be charged with unlawful failure to return rented or leased property.

Penalty: Six months to Two years imprisonment

How we can Help You?

There are several defenses that an experienced lawyer can argue in your case. For example, a defense for the crime of unlawful failure to return rented or leased property is the defendant’s physical incapacitation. This means that the charges could be dropped if you successfully argue that you were so physically incapacitated that you were unable to request or secure permission from the vehicle’s owner to keep the property longer. Another defense is that the condition of the property was so poor and was caused by no fault by the defendant, that he could not return the property on time.

Without proper representation, you could face the maximum punishments. With our firm by your side, we can determine whether you have any grounds for dismissal. We can help you negotiate plea deals and if needed, represent you at trial.