Being accused of Felony Tampering means you face serious accusations. In fact, in certain cases an accused can be charged with the most serious of crimes in the state of Missouri, a Class A felony. Despite the charge, hiring an attorney is highly recommended as the consequences of a conviction for one of these crimes can be extreme and can have a lifetime impact on your reputation and future. Our award winning criminal theft & robbery defense lawyers are at your service. Aggressive experienced representation with multiple defense strategies. Free confidential consultation with our criminal defense attorneys. Contact us today!
Felony Tampering Of A Vehicle In Missouri
Every state has specific laws regarding property crimes including property destruction, misuse of property and related offenses. Missouri laws criminalize the act of motor vehicle tampering and persons convicted for the offense are punishable by law. Under Missouri Laws Section 569.080, felony tampering involving a car or motor-propelled vehicle is a criminal offense that is classified as either first degree or second degree. The elements of felony tampering are much easier for the state to prove than the elements of stealing. However, in order to find an accused person guilty of tampering, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt before a Missouri court all the elements provided in Section 569.080.
First Degree Felony Tampering
A person is guilty of tampering in the first degree if he or she knowingly or purposely acquires, possesses sells, destroys, alters, or unlawfully operates a motor vehicle without the consent of the owner of the vehicle. This offense is classified as a class C felony. To make a conviction, Missouri courts do not have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused unlawfully possessed the vehicle, but that the accused operated the vehicle without the consent of the owner. The state does not have to prove whether the accused intended to deprive the owner the car or not. In order to convict an accused person for first degree vehicle tampering, the prosecutor must prove; that the defendant drove or operated the vehicle; that the vehicle belonged to someone else; and that the defendant’s intention was to deprive the lawful owner of the vehicle. The only primary defense for a person accused of felony tampering in Missouri is that the defendant had the consent of the owner.
First degree tampering involving a motor vehicle carries a bigger punishment than a misdemeanor second-degree tampering offense. If a person is found guilty of first degree tampering in Missouri, he or she will be incarcerated for a period of time ranging from one year to seven years, and fined up to $5000. However, the punishment for this offense can vary depending on the offender’s criminal history, facts of the case, and other factors.
Second Degree Felony Tampering
While it is a lesser offense than first-degree, tampering in second degree occurs when a person tampers with another person’s vehicle with the intention of inconveniencing them or rides in or upon another person’s car without the owner’s permission. Tampering in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor although certain circumstances may result in class E or class D felony charges. Convicted felons for second degree tampering face penalties that include a fine of up to $1000 and or a maximum of one year in jail.
Your Criminal Record
In addition, a felony conviction appears on the offender’s criminal record forever. This may have long term consequences on the offender’s life especially when it is a subsequent conviction. For example, being a convicted felon for tampering lessens one’s chances of getting a job, obtaining a loan, and may lead to loss of rights to obtain certain professional licenses.
Missouri Laws recognize felony tampering as a serious criminal offense and persons facing these charges should not take them lightly. For this reason, using a competent criminal defense attorney is essential to understanding the intricacies surrounding the law applying to your case and what can be done to lessen the punishment. A criminal defense attorney conversant with Missouri laws can assist you protect your future after being convicted for felony tampering in Missouri. They can offer professional advice before the accused goes to trial, pleading guilty, or when to accept a plea bargain.
Defenses to Felony Tampering
Despite the harsh consequences you face, you may have a valid defense, have legal options available to you, or may have even been wrongly accused of the serious charges against you. It is very important to talk to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after you’re arrested to discuss your options. Defenses to theft crimes can include a belief that you were entitled to the property or a belief that the owner of the property would have allowed the taking of the property, among others.
Don’t Fight the Charges Against You Alone
The experienced attorneys at the KC Defense Counsel have valuable experience defending those accused of serious criminal crimes including stealing and robbery. If you’ve been charged with one of the theft crimes, call the team at the KC Defense Counsel to schedule a free initial consultation and to discuss the facts of your case.