NBC DFW reported on three teenagers that were arrested for stealing cars in Keller who may also be connected to a series of car thefts in North Fort Worth. In the past few weeks, dozens of vehicles had been burglarized in several neighborhoods in North Fort Worth. Authorities recovered surveillance video of some of the incidents. Reportedly, it showed around seven young men going car to car checking for unlocked doors.
As of this writing, Keller PD and police in Fort Worth were working together to determine if the three teens arrested for stealing cars in Keller are connected to the series of car thefts in Fort Worth.
What Happens If I’m Arrested for Car Theft?
In Texas, car theft is enforced under Penal Code Section 31.07. Generally, when people are arrested for auto theft, they are charged for Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle. If you are charged with Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle, you face a State Jail Felony, which means you could spend from six months to two years in state jail. In addition, you could be fined up to $10,000. To prove Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle, prosecutors just need to show that the defendant knowingly or intentionally used another’s motor vehicle without the owner’s permission.
If the car that was stolen was worth more than $30,000, a prosecutor may choose to charge an alleged car thief under the general theft statute. This allows the offense to be charged as a third-degree felony. If convicted of a third-degree felony, you can spend anywhere from 2 to 10 years in jail and be fined up to $10,000.
What to Do If You Are Arrested for Stealing Cars
Criminal defenses for car theft include arguing consent and intent:
- Consent – Arguing consent involves defendants claiming that they believed they had the vehicle owner’s permission to use the car or truck they are accused of stealing.
- Intent – Arguing intent involves alleged car thieves claiming that they did not intend to steal the vehicle.
Dallas criminal defense attorney Mike Goolsby is a former assistant district attorney. His experience as a prosecutor gives him a unique perspective regarding the criminal justice system that helps him successfully defend the legal rights of people accused of crimes.