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Richmond, VA Criminal Defense Lawyer

Auto Theft Defense

When to Seek an Auto Theft Defense Attorney in Richmond

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Accomplished Auto Theft Defense Lawyer in Richmond

Being accused of auto theft can abruptly turn your world upside down. Navigating the complexities of auto theft charges can be daunting, but you don’t have to face this challenging journey alone. Cody Villalon, a grand theft auto defense lawyer, understands the anxiety and confusion that come with criminal charges, and he is here to provide you with the support and guidance you need.

As a seasoned Richmond auto theft defense attorney, he recognizes that auto theft allegations can cast a shadow over your life, impacting your reputation, freedom, and future opportunities. With his experience and deep understanding of the Richmond legal landscape, he is dedicated to standing alongside you, vigorously defending your rights, and helping you regain control of your life.

In this turbulent period, you need more than just legal representation – you need an advocate who will stand by your side, tirelessly fighting to protect your rights and secure the best possible outcome. Contact Cody Villalon at 804-316-0765 for a case consultation.

Contact Cody Villalon at 804-316-0765 for a case consultation.

Elements the Prosecution Must Prove in an Auto Theft Case

In an auto theft case in Richmond, the prosecution bears the burden of proving certain elements beyond a reasonable doubt. To secure a conviction, they must demonstrate that the accused committed the offense in accordance with the specific requirements of Virginia law. Here are the key elements that the prosecution must establish:

  • Taking Without Consent: The prosecution must prove that the defendant took or used the motor vehicle without the owner’s consent. This element is critical because auto theft requires an unauthorized act.
  • Intent to Permanently Deprive: To establish auto theft, the prosecution must prove that the defendant intended to permanently deprive the owner of their vehicle. This means that the accused must have had the purpose of keeping the vehicle as their own or disposing of it in a manner that would prevent the owner from recovering it.
  • The Taking Was of Another’s Vehicle: The prosecution must demonstrate that the defendant knew they were taking or using someone else’s vehicle without permission. In some cases, a defendant may claim they believed they had consent, making the element of knowledge particularly important.

Motor Vehicle Petit and Grand Larceny

Auto theft in Virginia can result in either misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the circumstances. The classification of the auto theft offense as a misdemeanor or felony hinges on the value of the stolen vehicle. The following are the penalties associated with each category:

  1. Petty Theft: According to Virginia Code §18.2-96, if the stolen vehicle’s value is less than $1,000, auto theft is treated as a Class 1 misdemeanor. A conviction may lead to a maximum jail term of 12 months and a fine not exceeding $2,500.
  2. Grand Theft: When the motor vehicle’s value is $1,000 or more, the theft is prosecuted as a felony under Virginia Code §18.2-25. Possible penalties include imprisonment for 1 to 20 years.

Potential Penalties for Auto Theft

When dealing with a felony auto theft charge, there is a possibility of receiving probation. Whether this probation is granted, and if it involves a suspended sentence, primarily hinges on the individual’s criminal history and the details of the case. Given the gravity of the offense, it’s uncommon for a judge to grant straight probation without some form of suspended sentence looming over the defendant.

In Virginia, where auto theft is treated as grand larceny, the judge imposes no mandatory minimum sentence. The potential sentence can extend up to 20 years, loss of voting and firearm possession rights and substantial fines of up to $2,500. The specific outcome depends on various factors, including the case’s particulars, the defendant’s criminal record, and any negotiations reached with the prosecutor.

In such a serious situation, it is essential not to take it lightly or handle it without the guidance of an experienced Richmond auto theft defense lawyer. Failing to do so could lead to severe consequences for the accused, ultimately not benefiting the Commonwealth. Consulting a skilled Richmond auto theft lawyer can help mitigate potential penalties for the individual facing these charges.

Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle

Another less severe offense for a person facing prosecution is the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, commonly known as joyriding. This crime occurs when someone unlawfully takes, operates, or temporarily uses a vehicle without the owner’s consent. A fundamental distinction between joyriding and petit or grand larceny is that joyriding lacks the intention of permanently depriving the owner of the vehicle.

According to Virginia Code §18.2-102, unauthorized vehicle use becomes a Class 6 felony when the vehicle’s value exceeds $1,000. A Class 6 felony is categorized as a “wobbler” felony, allowing it to be prosecuted as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Penalties could entail a maximum prison term of five years for a felony conviction or a jail sentence of up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500 if treated as a misdemeanor.

If the value of the vehicle used without permission is less than $1,000, the offense would be considered a Class 1 misdemeanor, subject to the same penalties as petit larceny.


Carjacking constitutes a serious felony offense in Virginia. According to Virginia Code §18.2-58.1, this crime occurs when an individual intentionally seizes control of a vehicle from another person’s possession or authority, employing or threatening violence as a means. The use of or threat of violence includes actions such as brandishing a firearm or other deadly weapon, physically assaulting or battering someone, or instilling in them a fear of severe bodily harm.

It’s crucial to note that there is no stipulation that the accused must intend to permanently deprive the victim of the vehicle for this offense to occur. In the event of a conviction, an individual could face a sentence ranging from 15 years to life imprisonment.

Facing Auto Theft Allegations? Here Is Why You Should Choose Cody Villalon as Your Trusted Defense in Richmond.

When facing auto theft charges in Richmond, choosing the right grand theft auto defense attorney can be your most important decision. Cody Villalon understands the gravity of your situation, and he is committed to providing you with exceptional legal representation. Here are several compelling reasons why you should choose Cody Villalon as your Richmond auto theft defense lawyer:

  • Experience and Expertise: Cody Villalon has extensive experience navigating the complexities of criminal defense law and is adept in defending clients facing auto theft charges. His expertise ensures that you will have a dedicated and knowledgeable advocate by your side throughout the legal process.
  • Unique Client Solutions: Cody Villalon believes in the importance of personalized client relationships. When you choose Cody Villalon, you can expect individualized attention and support. He takes the time to listen to your unique circumstances, concerns, and goals, tailoring his legal strategies to meet your specific needs. You are not just another case to him; you are a person with rights, and he is here to protect them.
  • Documented Successful Results: Cody Villalon’s results speak for themselves. He has a long history of successfully representing clients in auto theft cases, securing favorable outcomes such as reduced charges, dismissals, and acquittals. His commitment to excellence and dedication to his clients are the driving forces behind his impressive track record.
  • Compassion and Support: Facing auto theft charges can be a distressing and overwhelming experience. Cody Villalon will provide not only legal support but also emotional support. He understands the stress and anxiety of criminal charges and is here to guide you through the process with empathy and compassion.
You need an experienced auto theft defense attorney in Richmond at Cody Villalon to handle your auto theft defense. Contact Cody Villalon at 804-316-0765 for a case consultation.

Auto Theft Accusations? Here Is How Cody Villalon Can Help.

Cody Villalon employs a strategic and comprehensive approach to defending individuals accused of auto theft. Here’s how he can help you:

  • Thorough Investigation: He begins by conducting a detailed investigation into the facts surrounding your case. This includes examining the evidence, interviewing witnesses, and scrutinizing police procedures to identify any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
  • Building a Strong Defense: Based on his assessment, he will develop a tailored defense strategy designed to challenge the prosecution’s case. This may involve arguing lack of intent, mistaken identity, or other factors that could reduce charges or a dismissal.
  • Negotiation and Litigation: He is skilled in negotiation and litigation. He will work diligently to negotiate with the prosecution to secure favorable plea deals when appropriate. He will vigorously represent you in court, using his extensive trial experience to fight for your rights if necessary.
  • Protecting Your Rights: He prioritizes protecting your constitutional rights throughout the legal process. He ensures that law enforcement officials have not violated your rights regarding search and seizure, and he will work to prevent any potential violations of your due process rights.
  • Expungement: If you are eligible, he can also help you explore options for expunging your criminal record to give you a fresh start.

Don’t Face Auto Theft Charges Alone

Cody Villalon Is Here to Get You Freedom

If you or a loved one has been charged with an auto theft crime in Richmond, consult a Richmond auto theft defense lawyer immediately. The consequences of a conviction are too severe to leave your defense to chance.

Contact Cody Villalon for a confidential consultation to discuss your case. He is here to listen to your side of the story, answer your questions, and provide the guidance and support you need during this challenging time. Contact Cody Villalon at 804-316-0765 for a case consultation.

Attorney Cody Villalon Richmond, VA


Cody Villalon is a criminal defense attorney in Richmond, VA representing clients accused of violent offenses and DUIs, and he specializes in serious criminal charges. He possesses more than 10 years of legal experience, has defended more than 1,000 cases, and has spent more than 5,000 hours in court. He is highly professional and well-respected by prosecutors and judges. [ Attorney Bio ]


  • Virginia Criminal Defense Assoc.
  • Best Defense Award
  • Best DUI Lawyer Award
  • Best DUI Lawyer Award
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