It doesn’t matter what type of car it is, all vehicles can be stolen from their rightful owners. According to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV), nearly 65,000 cars and trucks are stolen each year in Texas, and thousands more vehicles are targets of burglary. Of the vehicles stolen, about half of them had their keys inside, reports the TxDMV.
In 2015, the top five (5) vehicles stolen were:
- Honda Accord
- Honda Civic
- Full Size Ford Pickup
- Full Size Chevrolet Pickup
- Toyota Camry
If you are being accused of stealing a car or truck in Texas, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the laws pertaining to auto theft. Texas does not have a specific auto theft law, instead, auto theft falls under the state’s general theft statutes under Title 7, Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code.
What Are the Penalties for Auto Theft?
Under Sec. 31.03 of the Texas Penal Code, theft can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the value of the vehicle stolen. The offense of theft is:
- A Class B misdemeanor if the vehicle is worth $100, but less than $750.
- A Class A misdemeanor if the vehicle is worth $750, but less than $2,500.
- A state jail felony if the vehicle is worth $2,500, but less than $30,000.
- A felony of the third degree if the vehicle is worth $30,000, but less than $150,000.
Unless the vehicle stolen was a “Junker,” most auto theft cases tend to be state jail felonies or felonies of the third degree in our experience. In Texas, a third-degree felony is punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and by a fine not to exceed $10,000 under Sec. 12.34 of the Texas Penal Code.
A state jail felony is punishable by 180 days in jail to two years in prison, and by a fine not to exceed $10,000 under Sec. 12.35 of the Texas Penal Code.