Free Case Review

*Indicates Required Fields




Call us today for a

(720) 257-5346


Call us today for a

(720) 257-5346



Colorado Criminal Defense Blog

Blog Home

Facing charges of Grand Theft Auto (GTA) in Denver can be a daunting experience, bringing forth legal complexities and potential life-altering consequences. In this blog, we’ll explore the specific elements that constitute grand theft auto cases, potential defenses, and the gravity of consequences that individuals may face.

Real-life case studies will shed light on the practical aspects, emphasizing the significance of seeking professional legal guidance to build a robust defense.

Understanding the Elements of Grand Theft Auto Cases

Grand Theft Auto involves the unlawful taking of someone else’s vehicle with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of their property. In Denver, certain elements must be present to substantiate a GTA charge:

Intent to Permanently Deprive

For a charge of grand theft auto to stand, the prosecution must prove that the defendant had the intent to permanently deprive the owner of their vehicle. Merely borrowing a car without the owner’s permission may not meet this criterion.

Knowledge and Control

The accused must be aware that they are taking someone else’s vehicle and exercise control over it. This includes situations where the defendant hotwires the car, uses a stolen key, or employs other means to gain control.

Potential Defenses in Grand Theft Auto Cases

If the accused can demonstrate that they did not have the intent to permanently deprive the owner of their vehicle, it may serve as a viable defense. For example, if the defendant believed they had permission to use the car, it could challenge the intent element.

Mistaken Ownership

A defense may be built on the premise that the accused genuinely believed they were the rightful owner of the vehicle or had permission to use it. This defense underscores the importance of establishing the defendant’s state of mind at the time of the alleged offense.


If the accused can provide evidence of the owner’s consent, whether explicit or implicit, it can weaken the prosecution’s case. Consent might be inferred from a pre-existing relationship or circumstances surrounding the use of the vehicle.

Case 1: The Borrowed Car Misunderstanding

In a recent Denver case, John Smith borrowed his neighbor’s car, thinking he had permission. However, due to miscommunication, the neighbor reported the vehicle stolen. With the help of a skilled defense attorney, Smith was able to present evidence of a longstanding friendship, ultimately resulting in a reduction of charges.

Case 2: Unauthorized Access but No Intent

Sarah Johnson, a teenager, took her parent’s car without permission, resulting in a grand theft auto charge. Sarah’s defense team successfully argued that her actions were impulsive, lacking the requisite intent to permanently deprive. The charges were reduced to unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

The Severity of Consequences

Grand theft auto charges in Denver carry serious consequences, both in terms of criminal penalties and long-term consequences:

Criminal Penalties

Conviction for grand theft auto can result in imprisonment, fines, probation, and restitution to the vehicle owner. The severity of these penalties depends on factors such as prior criminal history and the specific circumstances of the case.

Long-Term Consequences

A GTA conviction can have lasting repercussions, affecting employment opportunities, housing options, and personal relationships. It may also result in a criminal record, impacting various aspects of the individual’s life.

Building a Strong Defense with a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Given the complexities of grand theft auto cases, seeking legal representation is crucial. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can assess the specific details of the case, identify potential defenses, and navigate the legal system effectively. The attorney’s role extends beyond courtroom representation, encompassing negotiation with prosecutors, gathering evidence, and building a compelling defense strategy.

Denver Defense Against Grand Theft Auto Charges

Being charged with grand theft auto in Denver requires a comprehensive understanding of the legal landscape, potential defenses, and the gravity of consequences. Real-life case studies underscore the importance of building a strong defense, emphasizing the need for professional legal guidance.

If you or someone you know is facing GTA charges, consulting with a skilled criminal defense lawyer is an essential step toward securing the best possible outcome in a challenging situation.


About the Author:

Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012 & 2019-2022” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2022 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state.  Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020-2022. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.



Blog Home