Orlando and Grand Theft Auto
Car theft is a common occurrence in Orlando and all of Florida. In 2007, the state found itself listed as the third most popular state for car thefts with a total of 76,437 incidents. California, with 242,693 car thefts, and Texas, with 95,429 car thefts, were the only states to top Florida.
It’s important to note that in the eyes of the law, stealing is stealing, and therefore it qualifies as a theft. A child could take their parent’s car without permission, and possibly face a charge of grand theft auto – at least if the parent reports the car stolen.
You might think that car thieves will steal any car that’s expensive and attractive. Some thieves probably do think that way, but other thieves set out to steal specific cars. Depending on the state, car thieves are more likely to steal certain types of vehicle.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau keeps a database of cars most popular with car thieves. The database groups cars nationally and by state. The following cars are a favorite among car thieves in Florida, including Orlando:
1. Honda Civic – 2000 Model
2. Honda Accord – 1996 Model
3. Toyota Camry – 2010 Model
4. Nissan Altima – 1997 Model
5. Ford F150 Series/Pickup – 2006 Model
6. Dodge Caravan – 2000 Model
7. Dodge Ram – 2005 Model
8. Nissan Maxima – 1996 Model
9. Toyota Corolla – 2010 Model
10. Ford F350 Series/Pickup – 2006 Model
A Serious Crime
Grand theft auto is a third degree felony in Florida. A person facing a third degree felony charge can possibly spend up to five years in prison. The person also could possibly face five years probation and a $5000 fine. A willing passenger in a stolen car can possibly face a grand theft auto charge as well.
Charging someone with grand theft auto isn’t as simple as it seems. The state must prove that the driver and passenger knew or should have understood about the stolen car. In other words, a person caught in a stolen car isn’t necessarily guilty.
Perhaps the driver has no idea the car is stolen. People borrow cars from friends and family all the time. It’s possible that the driver borrowed the car – without knowing that someone stole it.
Even if the driver is guilty, that doesn’t mean the passenger is guilty. It’s possible that the driver offered an innocent passenger a ride.
In most cases, the accused usually admits to stealing the vehicle. In the case of a passenger, the person might admit they knew about the car.
Sometimes the condition of the car can tell law enforcement if the driver or passenger were aware of the stolen vehicle. For example, a screwdriver in the ignition – instead of a key – is clearly an indication that something is amiss.
In any case, it’s not good to get caught in a stolen vehicle. The police will stop you, and you will probably face arrest if the car is a verified stolen vehicle. A grand theft auto charge is a high possibility.
You should contact a lawyer if you feel you’re innocent of any wrongdoing.