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Motor Vehicle Theft: How Common is It and What Will Happen Next?

Motor Vehicle Theft

Posted 6 years ago by Detroit Bail Bonds

Is motor vehicle theft as common as you think?

What happens if someone is caught stealing a car?

What rights does someone who has been arrested for stealing a motor vehicle have?

Read on to learn more of the basic information you need to know, especially if you or someone you know has been charged with this crime.

Motor Vehicle Theft Explained

Motor Vehicle Theft

The FBI defines motor vehicle theft as the theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle, which include sport utility vehicles, automobiles, trucks, buses, motorcycles, motor scooters, all-terrain vehicles, and snowmobiles. It does not include farm equipment, construction equipment, or water crafts.

Joyriding could possibly be considered felonious theft, but often is classified as a misdemeanor known as the unlawful use of a vehicle without the owner’s permission. Carjacking is not classified as motor vehicle theft but as “robbery.”

Possibly due to advancements in automobile technology as well as harsher criminal penalties, the number of vehicles that are being stolen has been on a general decline nationwide. In 2010, there were about 737,000 thefts of motor vehicles, down 40 percent from 2001, according to FBI statistics.

In Michigan, more than 26,000 vehicles were stolen in 2010, but the rate of these thefts is down by more than 60 percent since the late 1990s/early 2000s. In 2016, 19,755 motor vehicles were stolen in Michigan. Although that’s an increase of 26 percent from 2015, it’s a decrease of 21 percent since 2012.

Penalties for the Theft of a Motor Vehicle

Motor vehicle theft is a serious crime and is considered a felony.  Someone who is found guilty of stealing a motor vehicle in Michigan may face a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, a fine of $15,000 or more, or both. That person will likely also face numerous hardships in the future, such as having a harder time obtaining work and strained personal relationships.

Prosecutors will have the burden of showing that the alleged thief intended to keep the vehicle away from its rightful owner. In some cases, however, the driving away of the vehicle was only intended to be temporary, such as in the case of joyriding. Even in that case, however, the person accused of the crime may face up to two years in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500.

Get Help

If you or someone you know has been accused of motor vehicle theft in the Port Huron area, you need help right away. Contact a qualified attorney and one of our Port Huron bail bond agents to get the assistance you need and obtain answers to your questions.

Contact our bail bond agency online, by email at, or by phone at (810) 605-5555. We’re here for you 24/7 to ensure you get the help you need as quickly as possible.


Contact Port Huron Bail Bonds if you or someone you know needs help getting out of jail after a motor vehicle theft arrest.

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