Knowingly Keeping a Stolen Car is a Felony
In Oklahoma, being in possession of a stolen vehicle is defined as being a person who is not entitled to the possession of a vehicle, receiving, possessing, concealing, selling, or disposing of it, knowing that is stolen or was taken under circumstances constituting a crime. The crime is considered a felony in Oklahoma. Okla. Stat. tit. 47 § 4-103
The statute requires knowledge on the part of the perpetrator. In order to be found guilty under this statute, the perpetrator must know that the vehicle was stolen or converted. The perpetrator also must not be entitled to be in possession. That means that the perpetrator must not have any legal grounds to be in possession of the vehicle.
This can be a tricky area of the law. Just purchasing a car that you know was stolen does not confer any legal right to be in possession. If the person selling you the car knows it was stolen, he or she cannot have conferred legal ownership to you. In that case, you do not have any legal grounds to be in possession of the vehicle and can be convicted under this statute.
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
In its simplest form, larceny can be thought of as theft by stealth. Even though you did not actually steal the car, you might be charged and convicted of larceny. The law frowns on complicit acts. Thus, the larceny statutes require a reasonable inquiry to make sure that the goods in your possession were not stolen if a reasonable person would do so under the circumstances.
A Reasonable Inquiry is Required to Avoid Being Charged With Larceny
If one buys, receives, conceals, or withholds stolen property or aids another, and fails to make a reasonable inquiry regarding their legal right to sell or deliver such property, in circumstances in which a reasonable person would make such an inquiry, that person will be presumed to have obtained the property knowing that it was stolen. This presumption is rebuttable by proof. This presumption can be used to impute liability even if you did not actually steal the vehicle. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1713
This statute is part of the theft laws in Oklahoma. Thus in Oklahoma, if a reasonable person would have made an inquiry to see if the vehicle was stolen under the circumstances, and if you failed to do so, you could be charged and convicted with possession of a stolen vehicle.
If the value of the property stolen is $1,000 or more, you could be convicted of a felony punishable by up to five years in prison or up to a year in the county jail. In addition, the court can impose a fine up to $500.
If the value of the vehicle stolen is less than $1,000, the crime is chargeable as a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $500, as much as six months in jail, or both.
Free Consultation with a Tulsa Criminal Defense Attorney
Being caught in possession of a stolen vehicle can mean years in prison. Anytime your freedom is threatened, you should bring all of your resources to the fore to protect it. You want to make sure that you hire an experienced Tulsa criminal attorney who will work hard to protect you and your freedom. Small facts may make a big difference in your defense.
Your initial consultation is free. Call Wirth Law Office at 918-879-1681 or submit the question form at the top right of this page.