In This Section
Author: Mollie Steinemann
February 24, 2023
Vote YES on SB23-097
Motor Vehicle Theft and Unauthorized Use
WHAT DOES THE BILL DO?
Under current law, penalties for motor vehicle theft are tied to the value of the vehicle. Currently, theft of a vehicle that is worth less than $2,000 is a misdemeanor. SB23-097 decouples the value of a vehicle from the charges associated with the theft of the vehicle. Under SB23-097, motor vehicle theft in the first degree is a class 3 felony, motor vehicle theft in the second degree is a class 4 felony, and motor vehicle theft in the third degree is a class 5 felony. The bill also creates the offense “unauthorized use of a motor vehicle” and makes it a class 1 misdemeanor, or a class 5 felony for a second or subsequent offense.
WHY YOU SHOULD VOTE YES
Rates of motor vehicle theft have been steadily increasing in communities across Colorado. The loss of a vehicle can have devastating impacts on quality of life, and it impairs people’s ability to commute to work, seek childcare, and otherwise provide for their families. Decoupling the charges associated with motor vehicle theft from the value of the car is an important step toward mitigating and managing record high rates of theft in our communities.
YOUR SUPPORT IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED
Colorado has the highest car theft rate in the country, according to the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA). About 105 cars were stolen every day in 2022. Increasing the minimum penalty associated with motor vehicle theft will give law enforcement the tools to stop repeat offenders and keep Colorado communities safe.
Mollie Steinemann, CML legislative and policy advocate