The penalties for motor vehicle theft can be stiff, yet it is still a common crime in the state. In fact, motor vehicle theft occurs every 55 minutes in Kentucky.
If you have been accused of motor vehicle theft in Kentucky, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Dan Carman and Attorneys to learn more. There are many ways in which an attorney can help a client who has been accused of motor vehicle theft, including investigating the circumstances of the arrest or proving that it was not the intention of the accused to keep the vehicle.
Kentucky Motor Vehicle Theft Statistics
There was sharp increase in the number of motor vehicle theft offenses reported by the Kentucky State Police in 2015. According to the KSP, there were 9,500 offenses in 2015, compared to 5,038 in 2014. The cities with the most motor vehicle thefts in 2015 were:
- Louisville – 4,577 motor vehicle theft offenses
- Lexington – 1,132 motor vehicle theft offenses
- Bowling Green – 230 motor vehicle theft offenses
- Covington – 147 motor vehicle theft offenses
- Owensboro – 137 motor vehicle theft offenses
- Shively – 102 motor vehicle theft offenses.
Motor Vehicle Theft in Kentucky Versus Other States’ Laws
Kentucky law is somewhat less specific than other states concerning specific types of vehicle theft. For example, carjacking is a term used to describe vehicle theft through the use of violence. While many states have laws that specifically address carjacking, Kentucky does not have a carjacking law. However, if violence or the threat of violence occurs in conjunction with vehicle theft, additional charges can be made.
Kentucky has no law addressing rental car theft, which many other states specifically mention in their laws. As is the case with carjacking, the absence of a specific law does not mean that Kentucky is necessarily more lenient than other states. Other laws might still apply to those who steal or fail to return a rental vehicle.
Penalties for Vehicle Theft in Kentucky
Motor vehicle theft is not specifically mentioned in Kentucky law. Rather, it is covered by general theft laws. That means the value of the stolen vehicle will dictate how harsh the penalties will be. Theft of property over $500 but under $10,000 is a Class D felony, which can result in five years in prison. Theft of property over $10,000 but under $1 million is a Class C felony, which can result in up to 10 years in prison.
“Joyriding” is a term used to describe the taking of a vehicle without the intent of keeping it. Joyriding is a Class A misdemeanor in Kentucky. If a person with previous joyriding or theft convictions is charged with joyriding, the penalties will be more severe.
How an Attorney Can Help
As you can see from the penalties listed above, the intent of the accused plays a central role in determining how harshly someone is punished. An attorney will look for ways to prove that their client was either under the impression they were given permission by the vehicle’s owner to borrow it or that they were simply taking the vehicle for a joyride. An attorney will also investigate the circumstances surrounding an arrest to make sure that their client was treated fairly and that police adhered to the proper procedures during an arrest.
If you or a loved one has been accused of motor vehicle theft, it is important to call an attorney as soon as possible. A defense attorney can begin building a case immediately and will speak to the authorities on behalf of their client. Call Dan Carman and Attorneys today to talk to a skilled, experienced motor vehicle theft lawyer.