What to do about a fraudulent transfer of a motor vehicle of less than $20,000 and a FTA?

UPDATED: Sep 12, 2011

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What to do about a fraudulent transfer of a motor vehicle of less than $20,000 and a FTA?

My father was arrested 11 years ago on this charge but never showed up for court. Warrants were issued and he was recently arrested in GA in which they extradited him back to TX. The original case bond was set at $5,000 and now it is $25,000. What kind of time is he looking at as it appears he was wanted as a fugitive of justice? Should we speak with a criminal law attorney? In Houston, TX.

Asked on September 12, 2011 under Criminal Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You really should speak to a criminal defense attorney.  Considering that this is an 11 year old charge, your dad may have some affirmative defenses OR the state may not be able to make the case based on evidence that is stale.  The main defense that he should look at is speedy trial.  There is not a set time limit for what is considered a speedy trial violation, but 11 years is certainly pushing it.  The State can only move forward if they show a good reason for the delay in prosecution.  As far as what type of time or sentence your dad is looking at—that will depend on the actual charge, the level of the offense, and his criminal history.  “Fraudulent transfer of a motor vehicle” is a state jail felony if the value of the motor vehicle was less than $20,000.00.  The punishment range for a state jail felony is 180 days to 2 years; however, there are other sentencing options depending on your dad’s history.  If he’s never been convicted of a felony, he’ll have a good chance of getting deferred adjudication or probation.  If he’s had two or more felony convictions that are state jail felonies, then he can be punished as a third degree felony (2-10 years).  If he’s had two or more non-state jail felonies (namely 3rd degree or higher), then he could potentially be sentenced as a second degree depending on when the convictions were entered.  Other variables could also affect the amount of time that he may have to do.  Talking to a criminal attorney in Texas will help reviews defenses and sentencing options.  I would suggest hiring an attorney that's been in practice at least 11 years and is familiar with the statute that was in effect at the time your dad was charged to see if there were any specialized defenses that were available at that time-- which would still be available to your father now.

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