What constitutes auto theft?

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What constitutes auto theft?

A relative (74 years old) is behind on car payments and owes about $14,000. She plans to leave the state with the car, not make payments, and hope not to be found. This must be criminal behavior. What will happen if/when she is found?

Asked on December 28, 2011 under Criminal Law, Georgia

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Auto theft is when a person takes another person's vehicle without permission with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of possession of it.

In your situation, the relative was making payments on a vehicle that she is entitled to possess based upon a loan from the lender. Her failure to continue to make payments on the vehicle is more of a civil breach of contract as opposed to a criminal situation.

Assuming the vehicle is located by the lender, it will be repossessed, towed and auctioned off under the loan agreement. Afterwards, there most likely will be a civil action against the relative for a deficiency judgment under the loan for the vehicle.


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