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Dwayne B.
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Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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I brought my car before I got married. My soon to be ex has

Customer Question

I brought my car before I got married. My soon to be ex has taken my car I havent seen or heard from in over 72 hours. Can I file stolen car report?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts. Further, if you get a message asking if you want to do additional services like a telephone call that message is automatically generated by the website and is not sent from me. I, like most of the experts in the Legal categories, do not do telephone calls due to issues with State Bar rules and other concerns.

You can report it to the police and it meets the definition of a theft under the criminal codes, if you didn't lend it to her, but the police are almost certainly going to tell you "it's a civil matter". In 20+ years I have never seen the police actually pursue a criminal matter when the parties are spouses even if they are divorcing.

The criminal code in Colorado that usually is used to address stolen cars are Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft 18-4-409 et seq and read as follows:

Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft 18-4-409 – Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft In The First Degree

The elements of the crime of aggravated motor vehicle theft in the first degree are:

1. That the defendant,

2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged,

3. knowingly,

4. obtained or exercised control over a motor vehicle,

5. belonging to another person,

6. [without authorization] [by threat or deception],

and

7. [the value of the motor vehicle involved was [twenty thousand dollars or less] , and] -or- [the value of the motor vehicle involved was [fifteen thousand dollars or less] ,

and…(one of the following fact patterns)

8. the defendant [retained possession or control of the motor vehicle for more than twenty-four hours] [attempted to alter or disguise, or did alter or disguise the appearance of the motor vehicle] [attempted to alter or remove, or did alter or remove the vehicle identification number] [used the motor vehicle in the commission of another crime other than a traffic offense],

[caused five hundred dollars or more property damage, including but not limited to property damage to the motor vehicle involved, in the course of obtaining control over or in the exercise of control of the motor vehicle] [caused bodily injury to another person while in the exercise of control of the motor vehicle] [removed the motor vehicle from the state of Colorado for a period of time in excess of twelve hours] [unlawfully attached or otherwise displayed in or upon the motor vehicle license plates other than those officially issued for the motor vehicle].

9. [without the affirmative defense in instruction number __________.]

Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft In The Second Degree

The elements of the crime of aggravated motor vehicle theft in the second degree are:

1. That the defendant,

2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged,

3. knowingly,

4. obtained or exercised control over a motor vehicle,

5. belonging to another person,

6. [without authorization] [by threat or deception],

and

7. [the value of the motor vehicle was [less than one thousand dollars] [one thousand dollars or more but less than twenty thousand dollars] [twenty thousand dollars or more].] -or- [the value of the motor vehicle was [less than five hundred dollars] [five hundred dollars or more but less than fifteen thousand dollars] [fifteen thousand dollars or more].]

8. [without the affirmative defense in instruction number __________.]

Second, you need to know what “level” the crime is. Is it a felony or a misdemeanor? Is it a petty offense – or a Municipal Code (City) violation? This tells you the possible penalties or punishment for this crime under Colorado law.

Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft in Colorado is tied directly to the value of the vehicle involved:

First Degree:

F3, if 2 prior convictions or value greater than $15,000
F4, if value is equal to or less than $15,000
F4, if value is equal to or less than $20,000
F3, if 2 prior convictions or value greater than $20,000

Second Degree:

F5, if value equal or more than $20,000
F6, if value is $1,000 to $20,000
M1, if value is less than $1,000

LINK To the Charts For Colorado Felony Penalties

LINK to Colorado Misdemeanor and Petty Offenses

Third, you need access to be able to read the entire law – the statute itself to study exactly how it is drafted.

Here is an EXACT REPRINT of the law in question with commentary where needed [HMS …..]:

Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft 18-4-409 – First and Second Degree

(1) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a) “Motor vehicle” means all vehicles of whatever description propelled by any power other than muscular, except vehicles running on rails.

(b) “Vehicle identification number” means the serial number placed upon the motor vehicle by the manufacturer thereof or assigned to the motor vehicle by the department of revenue.

(2) A person commits aggravated motor vehicle theft in the first degree if he or she knowingly obtains or exercises control over the motor vehicle of another without authorization or by threat or deception and:

(a) Retains possession or control of the motor vehicle for more than twenty-four hours; or

(b) Attempts to alter or disguise or alters or disguises the appearance of the motor vehicle; or

(c) Attempts to alter or remove or alters or removes the vehicle identification number; or

(d) Uses the motor vehicle in the commission of a crime other than a traffic offense; or

(e) Causes five hundred dollars or more property damage, including but not limited to property damage to the motor vehicle involved, in the course of obtaining control over or in the exercise of control of the motor vehicle; or

(f) Causes bodily injury to another person while he or she is in the exercise of control of the motor vehicle; or

(g) Removes the motor vehicle from this state for a period of time in excess of twelve hours; or

(h) Unlawfully attaches or otherwise displays in or upon the motor vehicle license plates other than those officially issued for the motor vehicle.

(3) Aggravated motor vehicle theft in the first degree is a:

(a) Class 4 felony if the value of the motor vehicle or motor vehicles involved is twenty thousand dollars or less;

(b) Class 3 felony if the value of the motor vehicle or motor vehicles involved is more than twenty thousand dollars or if the defendant has twice previously been convicted or adjudicated of charges separately brought and tried either in this state or elsewhere of an offense involving theft of a motor vehicle under the laws of this state, any other state, the United States, or any territory subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

(4) A person commits aggravated motor vehicle theft in the second degree if he or she knowingly obtains or exercises control over the motor vehicle of another without authorization or by threat or deception and if none of the aggravating factors in subsection (2) of this section are present.

Aggravated motor vehicle theft in the second degree is a:

(a) Class 5 felony if the value of the motor vehicle or motor vehicles involved is twenty thousand dollars or more;

(b) Class 6 felony if the value of the motor vehicle or motor vehicles involved is one thousand dollars or more but less than twenty thousand dollars;

(c) Class 1 misdemeanor if the value of the motor vehicle or motor vehicles involved is less than one thousand dollars.

(4.5) Whenever a person is convicted of, pleads guilty or nolo contendere to, receives a deferred judgment or sentence for, or is adjudicated a juvenile delinquent for, a violation of this section, the offender’s driver’s license shall be revoked as provided in section 42-2-125, C.R.S.

(5) Consistent with section 18-1-202, if the theft of a motor vehicle occurs in one jurisdiction and the motor vehicle is recovered in another jurisdiction, the offender may be tried in the jurisdiction where the theft occurred, in any jurisdiction through which the motor vehicle was operated or transported, or in the jurisdiction in which the motor vehicle was recovered.

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

If your question has been answered completely then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating (of course I’d suggest Excellent!) so I receive credit for my work.

Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread.

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

I believe I completely answered your questions but I am about to go offline for the evening and if you have any follow up questions feel free to ask them in this thread and I will pick up and continue tomorrow morning.

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

If your question has been answered completely then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work.

Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread.

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