Motor Vehicle Theft

Motor Vehicle Theft

The offence of motor vehicle theft is outlined in section 333.1(1) of the Criminal Code.

A person commits the offence of motor vehicle theft when they steal a motor vehicle, intending to deprive the rightful owner of it.

Examples

Person A sees an unoccupied delivery truck parked in front of his neighbour’s house with the door open and the keys in the ignition, and quickly climbs inside and drives away.

Person D takes their neighbour’s car to use it as collateral for a loan without their neighbour’s knowledge or consent.

Cases

R. v. Erdodi, 2014 ONSC 2817

In R. v. Erdodi, the accused was charged with one count of motor vehicle theft when he stole a company’s pickup truck and crashed it into a tree.

R. v. Smith, 2014 NSPC 72

In R. v. Smith, the accused was charged with one count of motor vehicle theft when he broke into someone’s home, taking several small items including the keys to that person’s vehicle. The accused then took this vehicle on a brief joyride before being apprehended by police.

Offence Specific Defence(s)

Not a Motor Vehicle

Where the person takes something other than a motor vehicle, they have not completed the offence of motor vehicle theft.

Lack of Intention

Where the person lacks the intention to steal, they may not have completed the offence of motor vehicle theft.

For example, if person A takes person B’s car, genuinely but falsely believing person B has lent it to them, person A lacks the necessary intent to have completed the offence of motor vehicle theft.

Colour of Right

Colour of right refers to a person’s legal right to something. If a person owns a car, they have colour of right in the car. If an individual genuinely believes they have colour of right in a car, they lack the necessary intent to be convicted of motor vehicle theft.

For example, if person A, while leaving a party, grabs keys to a car of the same make and model as their own and drives this car home believing they have taken their own car home. Person A does not realize until the next day.

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