While there is no specific law that addresses
grand theft auto in Texas, stealing another person’s vehicle will be prosecuted
under the state’s general theft law. Under
Texas Penal Code § 31.03, an individual can be charged with theft if he or she unlawfully takes
someone else’s vehicle with the intention of depriving that person
of their rightful property.
Stealing another vehicle is considered unlawful if:
- The owner of the vehicle did not provide consent to its use.
- The suspect took a vehicle despite knowing it was stolen.
- The suspect took a vehicle from law enforcement despite knowing it was stolen.
Furthermore, a person charged with unlawfully taking another person’s
vehicle can also be charged with unauthorized use of someone else’s
property. Under Texas Penal Code § 31.07, if a person intentionally
and knowingly uses someone else’s vehicle without their consent
but with the intention of returning it, then the suspect may be charged
with unauthorized use of the vehicle – also known as “joyriding.”
Penalties for Grand Theft Auto Charges in Texas
If a vehicle valued at $500 or less is stolen, the offender could face
a Class B misdemeanor charge under general theft laws. A Class B misdemeanor
is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of 180 days in jail and a fine
of up to $2,000.
Stealing a vehicle valued at $20,000 or more is considered a third-degree
felony, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and up to
$10,000 fines. Joyriding under the unauthorized use law may face a state
jail felony, which is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of 180 days.
What to Do If You’re Charged with Grand Theft Auto in Texas
A conviction for grand theft auto can lead to lengthy prison time, expensive
fines, and a permanent criminal record. With a felony conviction hanging
over your head, it can be difficult to gain employment and take advantage
of life’s opportunities.
It is imperative to obtain the experienced legal representation of a skillful
The Law Office of Jason Luong, PLLC has successfully handled a variety of criminal offenses, including
theft crimes. With more than 15 years of experience, as well as being a former prosecutor,
Attorney Luong has an extensive knowledge of Texas law to help you navigate through the
complexities of your case and the legal system.
Contact us and request a
free consultation with our Houston criminal defense lawyer today.