What would the courts have to prove to charge someone with “theft of a motor vehicle”?

My friends truck was seen “said to be on a surveillance camera” dropping someone off at a car. It was said that the person he room to the car stole it. My friend didn’t know of this, didn’t even get out o his truck. Now is being charged with theft of a motor vehicle. He just wants to know if this will hold or what they will have to do to make it an actual case?

Asked on July 16, 2010 under Criminal Law, Washington


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As with any crime a person is charged with the Prosecutor must prove what is known as the "elements" of the crime under the law generally "beyond a reasonable doubt" before a jury of the accused's peers. It is up to the Prosecutor to prove the elements rather than the Defendant to disprove them. It is their "burden."  Police often use the surveillance cameras of businesses to help with catching and prosecuting those they believe participated in a crime.  This evidence can be quite damaging and I would  suggest that your friend go and seek legal counsel with all of this as soon as possible.  The attorney will be able to let him know each and every component that must be proven and how their case adds up. Good luck.

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