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Larceny of a Motor Vehicle

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 Section 28 governs the crime of larceny of a motor vehicle. The law prohibits stealing, receiving, buying, possessing, or concealing a motor vehicle or a trailer that one knew or had reason to know was stolen. Evidence that identifying numbers on the car or car parts have been intentionally removed or changed will be prima facie evidence that the defendant knew or had reason to know that the car or parts were stolen. The law also prohibits taking a motor vehicle without the owner’s authority and stealing any of the motor vehicle’s parts or accessories. Additionally, Chapter 266 Section 28 makes it a crime to knowingly conceal a person who committed larceny of a motor vehicle.

Protect Your Rights by Hiring a Lawyer who Knows how to Defend Felonies in Massachusetts

“Joyriding,” the knowing unauthorized use of a vehicle, does not amount to larceny of a motor vehicle. Joyriding is a misdemeanor for a first offense and is governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 24(2)(a). More importantly, this is a lesser included crime of the offense of larceny of a motor vehicle. What makes this important is that this crime can be continued without a finding whereas larceny of a motor vehicle cannot. The punishment for larceny of a motor vehicle is discussed further below.

Here is something else that you should be concerned about. There is a federal statute that prohibits this activity. In order to convict someone of that crime the car must be driving across state lines. Thus, if you are admitting to sufficient facts it is important for your lawyer to make sure that you are not admitting to any more than is necessary to resolve the case in Massachusetts. In other words, there is no need to admit that the activity involved interstate activity.


Larceny of a motor vehicle is punishable by up to 15 years in the state prison, up to 2 ½ years in a jail or house of correction, a fine of up to $15,000, or both imprisonment and a fine. Prosecutions for larceny of a motor vehicle cannot be continued without a finding. A second or subsequent conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 year imprisonment. The penalty for knowingly concealing a motor vehicle thief is up to ten years in prison, up to 2 ½ years in a house of correction, a fine of up to $5,000, or both the jail time and the fine.

Massachusetts Theft Crimes Defense Attorney: 617-263-6800

If you’ve been charged with larceny of a motor vehicle or any crime in Massachusetts, Boston criminal defense attorney Stephen Neyman can help you. Attorney Neyman is an extremely experienced and talented professional who has been practicing criminal law for more than 20 years. His zealous advocacy for his clients continuously brings success. His Boston-based firm, the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, P.C. serves clients throughout Massachusetts. These clients appreciate Attorney Neyman’s vigorous representation as well as his around-the-clock availability and attentive client service. Call the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, P.C. at 617-263-6800 or contact us online. It is always smart to contact a lawyer right away, so feel free to call at any time (including nights and weekends).

Client Reviews
"We went to trial and won. He saved me fifteen years mandatory in state prison for this case." A.C. Boston, Massachusetts
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"In less than two months Stephen Neyman got my old conviction vacated. I now have no criminal record." Paul W. Boston, Massachusetts