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DAVID CLARK
Criminal Defense Attorney

Building a Philadelphia Auto Theft Defense

If you have been arrested for auto theft, you are facing serious penalties that could threaten your freedom. Therefore, it may be in your best interest to reach out to a seasoned auto theft attorney as soon as possible. A well-established lawyer could help your situation by building a Philadelphia auto theft defense. An accomplished defense attorney has experience handling these types of cases and could advocate on your behalf.

Defense Strategies for Auto Theft

The types of strategies that an attorney may use when building a Philadelphia auto theft defense depends specifically on the facts of the case. Defenses are raised by facts that are not only put together but proven. Defense strategies often revolve around the best fact scenarios for the defendant under the circumstances.

Some common defense strategies that may be used include:

  • Maybe the individual was given permission by someone who they thought was the owner and made a mistake
  • Perhaps an individual had no idea that a car should have been returned to a rental agency at the time they were operating it
  • Maybe their only crime was making an error as to whether or not the right person gave them permission to use the car

All of these defenses can be put forward to help mitigate the auto theft penalties against someone and/or help someone obtain a full acquittal of all charges. However, it is the basic knowledge of the law, the elements involved, and the means of contradicting the prosecution’s elements in a particular theft, that matter the most. When elements are challenged, individuals are given the benefit of the doubt and ultimately charges are often reduced and acquittals may happen.

Prosecutor’s Burden of Proof

For an auto theft charge to end with a conviction, the prosecutor must prove that the individual who allegedly took the automobile did so with the knowledge they did not have permission to do so and had the intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner of such automobile. Additionally, the subject of the theft is an actual automobile which is capable of being on the streets. When dealing with auto theft, prosecutors merely need to:

  • Prove that the car was stolen or in stolen status
  • Obtain an affidavit or live testimony from the owner indicating they do not know the defendant
  • Obtain an affidavit or live testimony from the owner indicating they did not give the defendant permission to have such an automobile
  • Show any sort of damage to the automobile which may indicate or show knowledge that it was stolen, like a broken window

Knowing what resources to utilize and what types of evidence to obtain before it was lost is essential. Retaining a skilled attorney who is experienced in building a Philadelphia auto theft defense at the earliest possible time could help a defendant avoid a conviction.

Initial Steps to Preparing a Defense

When building a Philadelphia auto theft defense, a lawyer will interview the defendant to find out the details of what actually did happen and why the police made the arrest in the first place. The attorney will also obtain any and all police reports or other district notes that are provided by the police that can be helpful in determining exactly what happened. Having an investigator obtain any audio or visual surveillance and/or location services can also be beneficial in defending a car theft case.

All of this evidence can be obtained once a thorough interview of the defendant is completed and all the relevant facts come to light. If you have been charged with auto theft, contact a lawyer right away to schedule your consultation.