Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Three Ways to Defend Against Larceny of a Motor Vehicle Charges


A Peapod delivery driver was making its rounds in September when a man hopped in the truck and drove off in an unknown direction. Law enforcement soon after responded to a call for the stolen vehicle and spoke with the victim to gain a description of both the suspect as well as details about the truck. Hours later, law enforcement spotted the vehicle traveling School Street in Jamaica Plain. Law enforcement followed the truck until it stopped in a driveway where law enforcement placed the driver under arrest. The suspect was later charged with larceny of a motor vehicle.

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 Section 28 addresses larceny of a motor vehicle. This law prohibits the act of stealing as well as buying, concealing, possessing, and receiving a motor vehicle that a person knows or has reason to know is stolen. The Commonwealth takes this offense seriously and a conviction can result in up to 15 years in prison as well as a fine of $15,000. As a result, it helps to understand there are several ways to respond to these charges. This article reviews just some of the most common ways to respond to these charges.

You Lacked the Intent to Steal the Vehicle

The prosecution in a larceny of a motor vehicle case must establish that the person being charged had the intent to steal the vehicle. This means that a person must have had the intent to permanently deprive someone else of use of the vehicle. As a result, the offense does not apply when a person decides that they only want to steal a vehicle for a short amount of time. If there is not sufficient evidence to establish intent to steal a vehicle, the prosecution will not be able to make a conviction.

You Believed the Vehicle Was Yours

If you took the vehicle with the belief that it was yours, you can likely create a strong argument that you did not have the intent to steal the vehicle. Sometimes, the prosecution might even make an error about ownership and the person being charged will be the owner of the vehicle. Other times, it might be possible to present evidence demonstrating that you had a lawful claim to the vehicle. 

Consent Was Given

To be convicted of larceny of a vehicle, the prosecution must establish that you took the property against the owner’s consent. As a result, if you can establish that the owner consented to your taking of the vehicle, you can create a strong defense to these charges.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

Being convicted of stealing a motor vehicle can result in lasting consequences including large fines, imprisonment, and a tarnished social reputation. As a result, it is in your best interest to obtain the assistance of an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney to respond to these charges. Do not hesitate to schedule a free case evaluation with attorney Edward R Molari today.