Being caught in possession of a stolen vehicle in Oklahoma can mean prison time. Here is what you need to know about how the crime is handled in Oklahoma.
Possession of a Stolen Vehicle Defined
Possession of a stolen vehicle in Oklahoma is defined as receiving, possessing, concealing, selling, or disposing of a vehicle that you know was stolen or was taken under other circumstances which constitute a crime. The crime is a felony in Oklahoma. Okla. Stat. tit. 47 § 4-103
Elements of the Crime
Like all crimes, possession of a stolen vehicle has a number of elements that a prosecutor must prove in order to secure a conviction. If any of the elements remains unproven beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant is acquitted.
- A person who is not entitled to possession of a vehicle;
- either received, possessed, concealed, or disposed of the vehicle; and
- either: knowing that it was stolen, or knowing that it was converted under circumstances constituting a crime. (OUJI-CR 5-117)
One of the elements that must be proven is knowledge. The prosecutor must show that the person knew the vehicle was stolen or converted. If there is no knowledge, or if the prosecution cannot prove this element, the defendant should be acquitted.
The perpetrator also must not have any legal grounds to be in possession. If the defendant has permission to be in possession, then there is no crime.
Possession of a stolen vehicle is punishable by up to two years in prison, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 9.
Vehicle theft can be charged as grand larceny. In Oklahoma, larceny is defined as taking another’s personal property through fraud or stealth with the intent to deprive. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1701
Grand larceny is a felony in Oklahoma.
If the value of the property stolen is less than $1,000, the crime is punishable by up to one year in the county jail, or nights and weekends in the county jail, or a fine up to $1,000, or both. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1705
If the vehicle taken is worth between $1,000 and $2,500, the crime is punishable by up to two years in prison or one year in county jail, or a fine up to $1,000, or both. If the vehicle is worth between $2,500 and $15,000, you could face up to five years in prison, or a fine, or both. If the vehicle is worth $15,000 or more, you could face up to eight years in prison.
Any person who steals an aircraft, automobile, or construction or farm equipment can be convicted of a felony punishable by a prison term up to five years if the vehicle is worth less than $50,000. If the vehicle is worth more than that, a person could face from three to 10 years of prison time, or a fine in the amount of three times the value of the stolen property, up to $500,000, or both, and restitution if the property is damaged or lost. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1720.
A prosecutor has a lot of leeway regarding how to charge vehicle theft. If you are being investigated or charged, you want to make sure that you have an experienced Okmulgee criminal defense lawyer advocating on your behalf to protect your freedom and your financial future. Never speak to the police without the benefit of counsel present.
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