Why can someone be charged with car theft if they were given the car to drive?

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Why can someone be charged with car theft if they were given the car to drive?

A friend was charged a year ago. His girlfriend gave him the keys and let him borrow her car as she has done a lot. She got mad at him and reported the car stolen. He was stopped a few days later. He is about to go to trial. The question I have is this. This woman continues to let him use her car. Nearly every weekend. So how can he be convicted of car theft? Would the fact tjat the victim in this case continies to allow him to use borrow the same car for the past year be a reason to get the whole case dropped? He has a public defender who is pretty much useless.

Asked on June 20, 2013 under Criminal Law, Arizona

Answers:

Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It all depends what the girlfriend is saying now and says in court.  If she is no longer mad at him, she can tell the prosecutor that she gave him permission to drive the car, and the charges against your friend will be dropped.  Of course, the girlfirend could be charged with false reporting of a crime, but that is probably less of a crime than grand theft auto.  If the girlfriend goes to court and says he stole the car without her permission, it will be her word against his, and the decision will be based on who the judge believes is more credible.  If your friend has witnesses that he borrowed her car regularly with her permission, that should help his case.


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