Tampering with a motor vehicle occurs in Denver when someone modifies or alters part of a car without the owner’s permission. This also includes damaging parts of a vehicle as well. Vehicle tampering grows in severity the costlier the damage. A period of incarceration and steep fines can apply for conviction. Below we discuss the specifics of tampering with a vehicle in Colorado. Reach out to a seasoned criminal defense attorney right away if you’re facing an allegation of vehicle tampering.
What is Tampering with a Motor Vehicle in Colorado?
C.R.S. 42-5-103 describes the specific violations of tampering with a motor vehicle throughout Colorado. Someone commits this offense in Denver, Lodo, or Stapleton if with criminal intent they:
- tighten or loosen any bolts, screws, brackets, or wires,
- shift or change brakes or gears,
- scratch, mark, or damage a motor vehicle or vehicle part,
- or add a substance to the gas tank, radiator, carburetor, or other part of the vehicle
It is important to note that while your mechanic might be doing some of these things to your car, they’re likely doing so with your authorization and not with criminal intent. This law is meant to prevent individuals from removing parts from stolen cars or intentionally damaging a vehicle to make it undriveable. Even if a person only helps someone modify a car in this manner, they can face equally damaging criminal charges.
What are the Consequences of Tampering with a Motor Vehicle?
Similar to the crimes of theft and criminal mischief, penalties for tampering with a motor vehicle depend on the value of the damage done. Additionally, causing bodily injury adds to the severity. In situations where the damage value is under $1,000 a class 1 misdemeanor applies. Conviction can lead to:
- up to 18 months in county jail,
- a maximum fine of $5,000
However, when the damage reaches or exceeds $1,000, a class 5 felony charge can result. Up to three years in prison and fines of up to $100,000 are potential ramifications. When vehicle tampering damage reaches or goes beyond $20,000 or involves bodily injury to someone, a class 3 felony applies. This can add almost a decade to the prison sentence and take the fines to high six-figures.
Experienced Criminal Defense in Denver
Consulting a skilled defense attorney is crucial when it comes to vehicle tampering. Penalties are steep for conviction and can negatively impact your life for a long time. Perhaps there wasn’t criminal intent behind your modifications or the owner consented to the alterations. Nevertheless, contact us for a free consultation. Our affordable fees and flexible payment plans make strategic representation a reality for those facing criminal accusations in Denver, and throughout Colorado.
If you or someone you know is facing a tampering with a motor vehicle charge, be smart. Contact the experienced criminal lawyers at O’Malley and Sawyer, LLC at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.
Photo by Hosea Georgeson