There are no special penalties reserved for auto theft, which is technically burglary involving cars, trucks, or other vehicles. However, accusations of burglary that involve vehicles rather than structures, can be very difficult to defend against. Eyewitnesses tend to make assumptions about what they see happen, and innocent actions in a parking lot or driveway sometimes become burglary in witnesses’ minds. It’s up to your lawyer to explain the truth and show that you shouldn’t pay penalties for a crime you didn’t commit.
Burglary and Car Theft
Remember that burglary doesn’t mean stealing something—it only means entering a structure or vehicle with the intent to steal something. In the case of a car, this could obviously include the intent to steal the vehicle itself. Consider a scenario in which you open the door and get behind the wheel of a car that doesn’t belong to you. The owner of the car may have given you permission to drive the car, but to an onlooker it could appear as if you were stealing it. Even though you didn’t break into the car, a prosecutor could try to put together enough evidence to convince a court that you intended to steal it.
Breaking and Entering
It is critical to understand that breaking and entering is always considered burglary. Nevada law specifically instructs judges and juries to assume the intent to steal if a prosecutor proves that the defendant broke into a car (or building). If this is a factor in your case, your defense lawyer must work to show that you did not pick a lock, break a window, or otherwise illegally break into a vehicle.
Associated With Burglary Charges
Besides the already-stiff penalties for burglary, there might be additional factors that could make the result of a conviction even worse.
- Use of a deadly weapon. If the court is convinced that you had a weapon on your person during a burglary, it must impose a minimum penalty of two years in prison.
- Immigration status. A guilty verdict on burglary charges might be enough to get you expelled from the U.S. even if you are a legal immigrant. At Weiner Law Group, we have handled many cases involving immigration issues and have the experience necessary to help you stay in the country.
- Possession of burglary equipment. You could be charged with a misdemeanor just for owning or carrying equipment intended for burglary. Again, you need a skilled attorney’s help to avoid a conviction that will follow you for years if the state chooses to charge you with this crime.
If you are being unfairly charged with auto burglary, call 702-202-0500 or fill out our contact form for legal help.