Cobb County Motor Vehicle Theft Lawyer
Motor vehicle theft in the twenty-first century is a little like horse theft in the Old West. Jurors often take a very dim view of auto thieves. Furthermore, auto theft could be unauthorized use or keeping a rental car too long. These actions aren’t as bad, but many jurors lump all of these defendants in the same category. This attitude makes it difficult, but not impossible, to successfully resolve these matters.
Andrew Schwartz, a tough-minded Cobb County motor vehicle theft lawyer, works hard to reduce, or eliminate, the harsh direct and indirect consequences of a criminal conviction. This hard work begins with a thorough case evaluation. After we identify possible defenses and plan our work, we work our plan. This simple and straightforward approach usually produces results that exceed our clients’ expectations.
Limiting Direct Consequences
Vehicle theft cases often have procedural and substantive defenses. A Cobb County motor vehicle theft lawyer leverages these defenses at trial, or during plea bargain negotiations, to limit the direct consequences of a conviction.
Sometimes, police pull over allegedly stolen cars based on the license plate number. Other times, they stop vehicles based on vague descriptions, like a silver Kia. So many silver Kias are on the highways and byways of Georgia that this description does not meet the reasonable suspicion standard.
If officers do not have reasonable suspicion for a stop, any evidence they seize, including a defendant’s confession, is fruit from a poisonous tree and therefore inadmissible in court.
Additionally, motor vehicle theft cases are multi-witness cases. The owner must testify in court that the defendant took the vehicle without permission.
Motor vehicle owners have generally never testified in court before. So, their testimony often crumbles under aggressive cross-examination. The burden of proof in these cases is so high that any inconsistency in testimony, such as a slight variation between deposition testimony and court testimony, destroys the witness’ credibility.
Furthermore, permission is usually ongoing unless the owner revokes it. If Lisa allows Frank to use her car once, Frank can generally keep using it until Lisa expressly revoked that permission.
Limiting Collateral Consequences
Georgia’s expungement procedure substantially changed in 2021. Now, most offenders are eligible for record expungement, or more properly record restriction.
The new law does not eliminate judicial criminal records. Instead, it seals them. Only law enforcement officers, judicial officers, and some state bureaucrats can see sealed convictions. If employers, landlords, or other people ask about prior convictions, the person can legally say “none.”
Most people can seal up to two prior misdemeanor convictions. Defendants can also seal one felony conviction, if they obtain an executive pardon. Governors often grant such pardons, if a Cobb County motor vehicle theft lawyer properly pitches the application.
Informal sealing is available as well, in the form of an N-FOG (no finding of guilt) plea. The defendant pleads guilty, and if the defendant successfully completes probation, the judge dismisses the case.
Work With a Tough-Minded Cobb County Lawyer
Criminal cases have procedural and substantive defenses. For a free consultation with an experienced motor vehicle theft lawyer in Cobb County, contact Andrew L. Schwartz, P.C. Virtual, home, and jail visits are available.