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What Is Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft in Minneapolis?

In every state, there are statutes that steeply punish the theft or unlawful use of a motor vehicle. Some jurisdictions lump all forms of auto theft into a single offense while others have varying degrees of felony charges related to these crimes. So what is aggravated motor vehicle theft?  Typically it is a higher-level offense compared to standard motor vehicle theft.

That said, Minnesota does not recognize the crime of aggravated motor vehicle theft. Typically, the statute that generally applies to most theft cases will also cover acts of motor vehicle theft.

Any criminal charge involving the theft of an automobile is a serious offense. Thankfully, you could avoid the penalties that come with a conviction with the right defense strategy. Talk a motor vehicle theft charges lawyer from Gerald Miller today to fight back.

Theft Offenses in Minneapolis and Minnesota

In general, theft offenses are covered by Minnesota Statutes Section 609.52. It defines auto theft as the unlawful taking of any “means a self-propelled device for moving persons or property or pulling implements from one place to another, whether the device is operated on land, rails, water, or in the air.”

Motor Vehicle Theft and Intent in MN

According to the statute, motor vehicle theft occurs when a person intentionally takes, conceals, or uses the automobile of another person. The state must also prove that individual did so with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle. This statute applies whether a person intended to keep the vehicle for themselves or sell it for a profit. Any act of destroying or altering a VIN number in an effort to conceal the theft is also a crime.

Joyriding in Minneapolis

The wording of this statute might suggest that joyriding—the stealing of a motor vehicle with the intention of returning later—does not qualify. After all, joyriding is theoretically not an intentional permanent taking of a motor vehicle. However, under state law you can face the same penalties for theft when joyriding as you would stealing the vehicle permanently.

Possible Penalties for Vehicle Theft in MN

Speaking of penalties, the consequences of a motor vehicle theft conviction can be steep. As is the case with many states, the penalties associated with this offense vary depending on the value of the vehicle. The theft of a vehicle worth more than $5,000 will lead to a maximum prison term of 10 years. For vehicles worth less than $5,000, the maximum penalty sits at 5 years. In both cases, these offenses are considered felonies.

The Failure to Return a Rental Car in Minneapolis

The failure to return a rental car is also treated as a form of auto theft under state law. In fact, this specific situation is highlighted in the theft statute. Keeping a rental car after the final date listed in the contract is considered theft regardless of the fact that you lawfully possessed the vehicle during the contract dates. While holding onto a rental car a few hours past the return date is unlikely to lead to criminal charges, there is a presumption of theft if you keep the vehicle for several days and provided false information to the rental agency.

Carjacking in Minneapolis and Minnesota

In some jurisdictions, aggravated motor vehicle theft can refer to a crime more commonly known as “carjacking.” Carjacking involves the use of force in an auto theft case. These cases can involve the use of a deadly weapon to take a vehicle from a driver. Even the insinuation of being armed with a deadly weapon could result in a carjacking case. The penalties for carjacking are more severe than a standard theft case. A conviction could lead to 15 years in prison in general, and up to 20 years in cases where another person was injured.

Talk to Gerald Miller About Your Motor Vehicle Theft Charges Lawyer

If you’re asking what is aggravated motor vehicle theft in Minneapolis, or you have been charged with motor vehicle theft, it might feel like the deck is stacked against you. The reality is that many auto theft cases are weak. With an aggressive approach to your defense, you might be able to obtain a dismissal or acquittal. Never assume a conviction in your case is guaranteed. To learn more about your defense options, schedule a free consultation with the attorneys of Gerald Miller as soon as possible.

About the author

William Bailey

Bill brings his strategic mind and calm demeanor to criminal defense. From DWIs to murder charges, he’s tackled it all across Minnesota, leaving a trail of satisfied clients and courtroom victories. He won’t sugarcoat the process, but with his empathy and expertise, he’ll guide you through it, ensuring you understand every step and feel supported every way. When he’s not in the courtroom, catch him at the lake or cheering on his favorite teams.

Motor vehicle/Auto Theft Articles

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