In New York, crimes committed against a car that belongs to another person are called “autostripping.” A person commits “autostripping” when he or she “removes or intentionally destroys or defaces any part of a vehicle…without the permission of the owner.” Common examples include keying someone’s car or slashing tires. Autostripping can also include breaking into a car to steal things from inside.
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Autostripping in its most basic form is “autostripping in the third degree.” This is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. You can be charged with this crime even if the vandalized vehicle was abandoned.
Pursuant to New York law, a vehicle is deemed to be “abandoned” when it is left unattended and when:
If a person has previously been convicted of autostripping within the past five years and is accused of it again, they can be convicted of “autostripping in the second degree,” which is a class E felony punishable by up to four years in jail. In addition, it is also a class E felony to “destroy, deface, disguise or alter any part of two or more vehicles” and to cause more than $1,000 in damages to the vehicles.
A person can be convicted of “autostripping in the first degree” if he “destroys, defaces, disguises or alters any part” of three or more vehicles and if the value of the damage is in excess of $3,000. This is a class D felony punishable by up to seven years in jail.
Autostripping accusations can be serious and are often accompanied by charges of criminal mischief as well as larceny and criminal possession of stolen property. The value of the property taken and the amount of damage caused to the car will come into play in determining which level of charges should be brought.
Despite the severity of charges that may be applicable to autostripping accusations, a skilled criminal defense attorney can help anyone accused of any crime in navigating the criminal justice system.
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