Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft – First Degree in Colorado

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Statute for 18 – 4 – 409 – Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft – First Degree

StatuteHere is the charge you are facing:

18-4-409. Aggravated motor vehicle theft

(1) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a) “Motor vehicle” means all vehicles of whatever description propelled by any power other than muscular, except vehicles running on rails.

(b) “Vehicle identification number” means the serial number placed upon the motor vehicle by the manufacturer thereof or assigned to the motor vehicle by the department of revenue.

(2) A person commits aggravated motor vehicle theft in the first degree if he or she knowingly obtains or exercises control over the motor vehicle of another without authorization or by threat or deception and:

(a) Retains possession or control of the motor vehicle for more than twenty-four hours; or

(b) Attempts to alter or disguise or alters or disguises the appearance of the motor vehicle; or

(c) Attempts to alter or remove or alters or removes the vehicle identification number; or

(d) Uses the motor vehicle in the commission of a crime other than a traffic offense; or

(e) Causes five hundred dollars or more property damage, including but not limited to property damage to the motor vehicle involved, in the course of obtaining control over or in the exercise of control of the motor vehicle; or

(f) Causes bodily injury to another person while he or she is in the exercise of control of the motor vehicle; or

(g) Removes the motor vehicle from this state for a period of time in excess of twelve hours; or

(h) Unlawfully attaches or otherwise displays in or upon the motor vehicle license plates other than those officially issued for the motor vehicle.

(3) Aggravated motor vehicle theft in the first degree is a:

(a) Class 4 felony if the value of the motor vehicle or motor vehicles involved is twenty thousand dollars or less;

(b) Class 3 felony if the value of the motor vehicle or motor vehicles involved is more than twenty thousand dollars or if the defendant has twice previously been convicted or adjudicated of charges separately brought and tried either in this state or elsewhere of an offense involving theft of a motor vehicle under the laws of this state, any other state, the United States, or any territory subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

(4) A person commits aggravated motor vehicle theft in the second degree if he or she knowingly obtains or exercises control over the motor vehicle of another without authorization or by threat or deception and if none of the aggravating factors in subsection (2) of this section are present. Aggravated motor vehicle theft in the second degree is a:

(a) Class 5 felony if the value of the motor vehicle or motor vehicles involved is twenty thousand dollars or more;

(b) Class 6 felony if the value of the motor vehicle or motor vehicles involved is one thousand dollars or more but less than twenty thousand dollars;

(c) Class 1 misdemeanor if the value of the motor vehicle or motor vehicles involved is less than one thousand dollars.

(4.5) Whenever a person is convicted of, pleads guilty or nolo contendere to, receives a deferred judgment or sentence for, or is adjudicated a juvenile delinquent for, a violation of this section, the offender’s driver’s license shall be revoked as provided in section 42-2-125, C.R.S.

(5) Consistent with section 18-1-202, if the theft of a motor vehicle occurs in one jurisdiction and the motor vehicle is recovered in another jurisdiction, the offender may be tried in the jurisdiction where the theft occurred, in any jurisdiction through which the motor vehicle was operated or transported, or in the jurisdiction in which the motor vehicle was recovered.

Case Law

When you look at the Statute, you may have questions about definitions of certain words or how the Colorado Court will interpret certain phrases.  To answer these questions, Defense Attorney turn to "case law."  That is, lawyers look at previous cases to determine how these words and phrases should be defined and interpreted. The best way to locate caselaw for free is to go to google scholar and search for legal opinions involving your charges from Colorado courts. Remember to talk to your attorney about any issues in your case and how the lawyer believes that the issues should be handled.


Colorado Penalties for Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft – First Degree

Penalties

The charge of Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft – First Degree, is categorized as a:

F3, if 2 prior convictions or value greater than
$15,000
F4, if value is equal to or less than $15,000
F4, if value is equal to or less than $20,000
F3, if 2 prior convictions or value greater than
$20,000

Click here to find out how much jail time is associated with this penalty.

How to Use This Information

After you have hired a Colorado Defense Attorney, you will need to sit down with him to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of your case.  To begin this process, you should think about what the prosecutor will attempt to show in order to say that you are guilty. This involves analyzing the statute language above as well as the jury instructions (which is the set of instructions that the jury will use to understand the law). This will allow you to get a better idea of how you can attack the prosecutor’s case and build your own case. So to begin, you should understand that the prosecutor will need to prove certain things beyond a reasonable doubt for you to be found guilty.  These things are called “elements”.

The jury will be notified of the elements through a set of instructions called “Jury Instructions.” The Jury Instructions will be crafted by your attorney and the prosecutor. Your Colorado Defense Attorney will mold the jury instructions to your case, adding facts that are specific to the case and omitting unnecessary parts of the instructions.

Please find the model jury instruction for Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft – First Degree below. These will be adapted by your Colorado Attorney for your case.

The elements of the crime of aggravated motor vehicle theft in the first degree are: 1. That the defendant, 2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged, 3. knowingly, 4. obtained or exercised control over a motor vehicle, 5. belonging to another person, 6. [without authorization] [by threat or deception], and 7. [the value of the motor vehicle involved was [twenty thousand dollars or less] , and] -or- [the value of the motor vehicle involved was [fifteen thousand dollars or less] , and] 8. the defendant [retained possession or control of the motor vehicle for more than twenty-four hours] [attempted to alter or disguise, or did alter or disguise the appearance of the motor vehicle] [attempted to alter or remove, or did alter or remove the vehicle identification number] [used the motor vehicle in the commission of another crime other than a traffic offense], [caused five hundred dollars or more property damage, including but not limited to property damage to the motor vehicle involved, in the course of obtaining control over or in the exercise of control of the motor vehicle] [caused bodily injury to another person while in the exercise of control of the motor vehicle] [removed the motor vehicle from the state of Colorado for a period of time in excess of twelve hours] [unlawfully attached or otherwise displayed in or upon the motor vehicle license plates other than those officially issued for the motor vehicle]. 9. [without the affirmative defense in instruction number __________.] After considering all the evidence, if you decide the prosecution has proven each of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you should find the defendant guilty of aggravated motor vehicle theft in the first degree. After considering all the evidence, if you decide the prosecution has failed to prove any one or more of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you should find the defendant not guilty of aggravated motor vehicle theft in the first degree. NOTES ON USE The values changed for offenses committed on or after July 1, 2007. Delete inapplicable bracketed material. When using this instruction, the applicable definitions of ?knowingly?, “motor vehicle” and “vehicle identification number” must be given. When there is disputed evidence as to value, a Special Verdict form or lesser included offense instruction should be used.

To begin the process of analyzing your case, think about your case from the perspective of the prosecutor.  Think about the facts that the prosecutor will have to prove to establish each element. Next, sit down with your CO Defense Attorney and talk about some of the legal ways that you can use to counter the prosecutor’s evidence.  Talk to your attorney about whether he thinks any of the prosecutor’s evidence can be kept out of court.  For example, if you were illegally searched, your attorney may be able to keep the things that were found, as a result of that illegal search, out of court.  Additionally, talk to your attorney about whether you have any defenses to Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft – First Degree.

Important Notes:

Don’t Forget about Immigration:

If you are not a U.S. citizen, be sure to ask your attorney whether your charges will trigger deportation if you are found guilty or plea to the charge.

Good Luck!

The information in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney.

Written by

Nathaniel has worked in criminal law on both sides of the aisle spending time working for the prosecution as well as the defense. Most recently Nathaniel has represented individuals in violent felonies and drug cases. Prior to this work, Nathaniel handled DWIs, Domestic Violence Cases, Property Crimes, and White Collar Crimes. On the prosecutorial side, Nathaniel has most notably worked in Bosnia helping to prosecute individuals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Bosnian War from 1993-1995. In particular, Nathaniel helped in the prosecution of military leaders who arranged for the organized murders and rapes of innocent civilians in various towns in Bosnia. Nathaniel is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Northwestern University, and Phillips Exeter Academy. Google Profile: Nathaniel Baca