Taking a vehicle without permission is considered a crime under California law. There are several different laws that specifically deal with vehicle theft:
- Unauthorized use of a vehicle (also known as “joyriding”) – California Vehicle Co
- de Section 10851 VC
- Carjacking – California Penal Code Section 215 PC
- Grand theft auto – California Penal Code Section 87(d)(1) PC
Each of these three laws and their penalties are described in more detail below.
Grand Theft Auto Criminal Charges
California Penal Code Section 487(d)(1) holds that grand theft auto may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. In order for you to be charged with grand theft auto, the prosecutor must prove the following elements:
- You took a vehicle that was owned by another person
- You took the vehicle without the owner’s permission or consent
- You took the car with the intention of permanently keeping it or keeping it for such a period of time so as to deprive the owner of its value or the use of the vehicle
- You moved the car, even a short distance, and kept it for a period of time.
Joyriding Criminal Charges
Vehicle Code Section 10851(a) VC, also known as “joyriding,” in California involves an individual taking or driving a vehicle that does not belong to him without the consent of the owner and with the intent to permanently or temporarily depriving the owner of its possession. If you are convicted of joyriding charges, the penalties include imprisonment and/or fine up to $5,000.
Carjacking Criminal Charges
California Penal Code Section 215 PC defines carjacking as the unlawful taking of a vehicle that belongs to another person with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the owner of its possession. This charge is brought as a felony and is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for a term of three, five or nine years.
Call an Experienced Central Valley Vehicle Theft Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone that you know has been arrested or charged with a vehicle theft crime that you did not commit, it is important that you immediately hire an experienced vehicle theft criminal defense attorney to help protect your legal rights and ensure that you have the best defense possible to avoid a criminal conviction.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with Central Valley criminal defense attorney Gurjit Srai, please call us at (209) 323-5558 or (559) 449-1447, or complete our online form.