In Oklahoma, possession of a stolen vehicle is a felony. It is called Receiving or Disposing of a Vehicle or Implement of Husbandry. For crimes alleged to have occured on or after Nov. 1, 2018, maximum sentence for receiving a stolen vehicle is two years. For allegations involving registered agricultural implements after that date, the penalty can be one to five years in prison, a fine of $500 to $5,000 or a combination of both. Okla. Stat. tit. 47 § 4-103, Okla. Stat. tit. 47 § 17-102
A different Oklahoma law with regard to concealing stolen property can also be applied to possession of a stolen vehicle in Oklahoma. Again, changes in Oklahoma law make a difference depending on when a crime allegedly occured. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1713
For crimes alleged to have occured before Nov. 1, 2018, concealing stolen property worth more than $1,000 could result in as many as five years in prison. After that date, concealing property worth $2,500 to $15,000 can net 5 years, while concealed property worth more than $15,000 can net 8 years prison. Concealing property worth less than $2,500 could result in a maximum of 2 years in prison.
Because the general concealing stolen property law provides greater penalties than motor-vehicle code’s provisions for knowingly possessing a stolen vehicle, prosecutors may chose to leverage greater penalties under the newer law. On the other hand, a range of penalties provides room for negotiation.
It is important that you retain the counsel of a knowledgable Wagoner criminal lawyer if you are facing allegations related to a stolen vehicle. Effective representation could dissuade prosecutors from bringing excessive charges unrelated to available evidence.
Is Possession of a Stolen Vehicle Larceny?
Simple possession of a stolen vehicle does not prove larceny. That nuance can be lost on prosecutors who might argue otherwise. Under Oklahoman law, larceny is defined as the taking of personal property through fraud or stealth, and with intent to deprive. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1701. Larceny is a theft crime. Oklahoma divides larceny into petit (the French word for “small”) and grand (the French word for “large”). Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1703.
The Oklahoma legislature has recently passed new laws that change the level at which larceny becomes a felony. Prior to the enactment of the new law, the amount differentiating grand larceny (a felony) from petit larceny (a misdemeanor) was $500. The new threshold is $1,000. If you are caught in possession of a stolen vehicle valued above this amount, and most vehicles are, you could be convicted of grand larceny, which is a felony offense in Oklahoma. As of Nov. 1, 2018, theft from a person of property worth less than $1,000 is also considered grand larceny. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1704.
The penalty for grand larceny is as many as five years in jail. You could also be fined as much as $5,000. If convicted of petit larceny, you could face jail time of as much as one year in the county jail — or nights and weekends at the court’s discretion. In addition, you could face a fine of as much as $1,000. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1705.
Courts have broad discretion in the sentencing for possession of a stolen vehicle. It is critical that you have an experienced Wagoner criminal defense attorney represent you. Your local attorney will know the law as it applies to your case. A local criminal defense attorney will know the local court system and judges you will be facing. Your Wagoner attorney can work with you to develop arguments the court will more likely find persuasive.
Theft Of An Automobile
Possessing a stolen vehicle could be improperly construed as evidence that the person in possession stole the vehicle. Possession of a stolen vehicle might be charged when allegations involve the theft of aircraft, cars or other vehicles, and farm or construction equipment.
Auto theft is a felony and is punishable by a prison term of as little as three years to as long as 20 years, depending on what law was in effect at the time of the crime. On Nov. 1, 2018, Oklahoma vehicle theft penalties are capped at 5 years in prison with no minimum for vehicles worth less than $50,000, at least three years and no more than 20 years for vehicles worth more than $50,000.
You could be fined as much as three times the value of the stolen property, up to $500,000, and ordered to pay restitution. In all cases, courts may select a combination of fines and prison when sentencing for auto theft.
To be charged with theft of a vehicle, prosecutors must show the took the vehicle from another with intent to steal, whether they are found in possession of the vehicle or not. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1720.
Joyriding is a less serious crime in Oklahoma as compared to possession of a stolen vehicle. It is defined as a person driving or attempting to drive another person’s car without their consent. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1787. It is a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine from as little as $100 and as much as $500. And you could be sentenced to a term of as much as one year in the county jail. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1788.
In joyriding, there is no intent to keep the car. In that sense it can be differentiated from larceny. Your Wagoner criminal defense attorney can help you determine if a larceny charge or theft of an automobile charge might be reduced to a joyriding charge in your case.
Carjacking is perhaps the most serious crime you can be charged with if you are caught in possession of a stolen vehicle. Carjacking always involves force or the threat of force and is often prosecuted under the general robbery statutes in Oklahoma. Robbery is crime against a person and is defined as the wrongful taking of another’s personal property from that person’s body or from the immediate surrounding area by means of force or fear. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 791.
In first-degree robbery, the assailant uses force or threatens force and puts the victim in fear of immediate serious bodily injury, or commits or threatens to commit a felony against a person. All other robberies are charged as second degree. Okla. Stat. tit.21 § 797. First-degree robbery is a felony punishable by not less than 10 years. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 798.
In addition, if a carjacking takes place with the use of a deadly weapon, the jail sentence may be subject to the 85 percent rule. If convicted, you will have to serve 85 percent of your prison sentence before you are released. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 13.1.
The matrix of possible charges against you if you are caught in possession of a stolen vehicle is complex and so are the possible defenses. Each situation is unique. The facts of your case are critical to establishing your defense.
If you are being investigated or charged it is critical that you hire an criminal attorney in Wagoner as soon as possible. Do not speak to the police. Their job is to help prosecute you. Your attorney’s job is to help preserve your freedom.
Free Consultation: Wagoner Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are facing charges related to vehicle theft, carjacking or joyrding in Wagoner, call today for a free consultation with a Wagoner, Oklahoma criminal defense attorney. Call the Wirth Law Office-Wagoner at (918) 485-0335 (or toll free at (888) Wirth-Law. Or as always, you may enter a legal question in the form at the top of this page and we will contact you as soon as possible.