In the laws established by the Code of Alabama, the term “propelled vehicle” is used to describe any “propelled device in, upon, or by which any person or property is transported on land, water, or in the air.” The term includes motor vehicles, motorcycles, motorboats, aircraft, and any vessel propelled by machinery, whether or not that machinery is the principal source of propulsion.
There are multiple theft offenses listed under Chapter 8 of Title 13A in the Code of Alabama concerning propelled vehicles. Most of these crimes are punishable by lengthy terms of imprisonment as well as significant fines.
Huntsville Motor Vehicle Crimes Lawyer
Were you charged with some sort of crime involving a propelled vehicle in Alabama? You will want to make sure that you have legal representation in order to have the best chance of getting the criminal charges reduced or dismissed.
The Madison County motor vehicle crime attorneys at Law Offices Of Segal & Segal aggressively defend clients throughout the greater Huntsville area, including Madison, Albertville, New Hope, Scottsboro, Athens, and Decatur. Our firm can review your own case as soon as you call (256) 533-4529 or send us an online message to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.
Alabama Motor Vehicle Crimes Information Center
- Does the value of the automobile impact the classification of a theft crime?
- What constitutes unauthorized use of a vehicle?
- How does Alabama law define breaking and entering?
While the value of stolen property generally needs to exceed $2,500 in order to constitute theft of property in the first degree, Code of Alabama § 13A-8-3(b) states that this also applies to theft of any motor vehicle—regardless of its value. Stealing a motor vehicle is considered theft of property and thus classified as a Class B felony.
This means that if an alleged offender is convicted of theft of a motor vehicle, he or she could face a minimum term of two years up to as much as 20 years of imprisonment. Additionally, he or she could also be ordered to pay a fine of up to $10,000.
Every one of these cases is different, but there are often several defenses that may help overcome charges relating to the theft of a motor vehicle. For example, an alleged offender may have had a legitimate claim of right to the propelled vehicle or he or she may not have intended to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle.
Under Code of Alabama § 13A-8-11(a), there are three ways a person can be charged for unauthorized use of a vehicle:
- If he takes, operates, exercises control over or otherwise uses a propelled vehicle while knowing that he or she does not have the consent of the owner; or
- If having custody of a propelled vehicle pursuant to an agreement between himself, herself, or another person and the owner thereof whereby the alleged offender or another person is to perform for compensation a specific service for the owner involving the maintenance, repair or use of the vehicle, he or she intentionally uses or operates it, without the consent of the owner, for his or her own purpose in a manner constituting a gross deviation from the agreed purpose; or
- If having custody of a propelled vehicle pursuant to an agreement with the owner thereof whereby it is to be returned to the owner at a specified time, he or she knowingly retains or withholds possession thereof, without the consent of the owner, for so lengthy a period beyond the specified time as to render the retention or possession a gross deviation from the agreement.
This crime is classified as a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in the county jail and possibly a fine of not more than $6,000. However, if the alleged offender takes, operates, usurps, or exercises control over a propelled vehicle by force or threat of force with an operator or one or more passengers aboard (commonly referred to as carjacking), then this is a Class B felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than two years and not more 20 years as well as a possible fine of as much as $10,000.
If a person allegedly breaks into and enters a vehicle or any part of a vehicle without the consent of the owner but with the intent to commit any felony or theft, then he or she can be charged with unlawful breaking and entering a vehicle under Code of Alabama § 13A-8-11(b). The term “enters” can mean that an alleged offender intrudes with:
- Any part of the body; or
- Any physical object connected with the body.
This offense is a Class C felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of not more than 10 years but not less than one year and one day. Additionally, the alleged offender could also be ordered to pay a fine of up to $15,000.
Find a Motor Vehicle Crimes Lawyer in Huntsville
If you were arrested for any kind of a criminal offense involving a motor vehicle, do not delay in obtaining legal counsel. Andrew Segal and Sandra Segal are former prosecutors who have handled scores of cases like these and know how to craft the most effective defense against these types of charges.
Law Offices Of Segal & Segal represents clients all over Madison County as well as communities in Marshall County, Jackson County, Morgan County, and Limestone County. You can have our Alabama motor vehicle crime attorneys provide a complete evaluation of your case by calling (256) 533-4529 or sending us an online message to schedule a free consultation.