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Burglary of a Vehicle

Our Houston Car Theft Lawyer Can Defend You

Every year, more than 65,000 vehicles are stolen in the state of Texas. In Texas, Auto theft is charged as general theft, though the circumstances, defendant intent, and presence of another party may alter or increase punishment for the thief. Theft is punished based on the value of the taken property. Most auto thefts are charged as state jail felonies.

If you or someone you love has been accused of auto theft, it is important to contact a Houston car theft lawyer as soon as possible. As bad as the situation may seem, a criminal defendant has rights that protect them from unfair and overly zealous prosecution. Samuel M. Gardner is here to represent your case and defend your rights.

Call (713) 448-0303 to schedule an appointment.

Types of Auto Theft

Carjacking is the standard form of auto theft. This is where the defendant takes a vehicle from the owner by force or intimidation. Carjacking is prosecuted as a robbery and is a more serious crime.

Joyriding is also known as the unauthorized use of someone’s vehicle. Joyriding means that after the defendant used the vehicle without permission (or knowledge) from the owner, the vehicle was returned. Teenagers stealing the family car for a few hours to attend a party can be convicted of unauthorized vehicle use.

Someone who doesn’t return a rental car to the company will be prosecuted for theft. Theft of a motor vehicle that can be used as a domicile (e.g., Winnebago) or theft from a motor home may be charged as burglary instead.

Possible Penalties for Auto Theft

Because automobile value determines the defendant’s charges, the insurance company value estimates or fair market value of the make and model are often used in court.

  • The defendant will be charged with a state jail felony for vehicles worth between $1,500 and $20,000. State jail felonies appear as felonies on the defendant’s record but place the defendant in a minimum security jail instead of a prison. These punishments may also come with a $10,000 fine.
  • Cars worth more than $20,000 are charged as third-degree felonies. This is punishable by fines up to $10,000 and a possible 10 year prison sentence.
  • Cars valued higher than $100,000 are considered second-degree felonies (up to 20 years in prison).
  • Anything above $200,000 is a first-degree felony (up to 99 years in prison).

When charged with a felony for auto theft, your attorney might be able to win your case with a grand jury. If the jury votes to no bill the case then the charge can be removed from your permanent record.

If you are charged with an auto theft felony, seek immediate representation. Samuel M. Gardner is a Houston-based criminal defense attorney who aggressively to defend his clients’ rights and freedom. Call (713) 448-0303 for a FREE consultation.


Take a look at our results.
  • Dismissed Accused of Assault Bodily Injury
  • Dismissed Accused of Assault Bodily Injury / Injury to Public Servant
  • Jury Trial / Not Guilty Accused of Assault Family Member
  • Jury Trial / Mistrial / Dismissed Accused of Assault Family Member
  • Dismissed Accused of Assault Family Member
  • Jury Trial / Not Guilty Accused of Evading Arrest
  • Jury Trial / Not Guilty Accused of Felony Evading Arrest
  • Dismissed Accused of Forgery Government Financial Instrument
  • Dismissed Accused of Injury to Elderly
  • Dismissed Accused of Possession of a Controlled Substance 28-200g

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