In California, offenders involved in an auto or vehicle theft can be charged with either grand theft auto under Penal Code 487(d)(1) PC or Joyriding under Vehicle Code 10851 VC, which is the unlawful taking or driving of a vehicle.
An offender facing vehicle theft charges in Los Angeles may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. This depends on the defendant’s case, criminal history, and whether he or she has had prior convictions, has been charged with similar crimes. This is primarily because in California grand theft auto under Penal Code 487(d)(1) PC and joyriding under Vehicle Code 10851 VC are generally considered as “wobbler” offenses.
What Is the Difference Between Joyriding and Grand Theft Auto?
Grand Theft Auto Penal Code 487(d)(1) PC charges require the court to show that the offender intended to keep the car permanently or for a “substantial” period of time.
While joyriding under Vehicle Code 10851 VC charges generally require the court to show that the offender intended to simply take the vehicle for a short spin.
Examples of Grand Theft Auto in California
Examples of grand theft auto in California include:
- Stealing a vehicle with the intent to sell various parts and in the middle of the crime, the defendant aborts the mission. While the offender may have not completed the objective, it is likely that he or she may be charged with Grand Theft under Penal Code 487(d)(1) PC
- Stealing a vehicle to use for means of escaping the scene of another crime
- Breaking into a vehicle in a Los Angeles neighborhood with the intention to take it out for a spin with a few buddies. Offender(s) may likely be charged with Joyriding under Vehicle Code 10851 VC.
Penalties For Grand Theft Auto in California:
Offenders charged with Grand Theft Auto PC 487 (d)(1) may very likely face the charge as a felony conviction. usually charged as a felony, which generally carries a potential jail sentence of two (2) years or three (3) years or sixteen 16 months.
While, on the other side of the spectrum, first-time offense for defendants facing Unlawful Taking of a Vehicle or “Joyriding” under Vehicle Code 10851 VC may be charged as a misdemeanor with other potential penalties such as:
- Paying a fine of up to five thousand dollars ($5,000) and/or
- Prison sentence in the county jail for up to one (1) year.
Legal Defenses For Grand Theft Auto in California
An experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney specializing in theft crimes may be able to reduced or dismiss your vehicle theft charges. If you are facing vehicle theft charges it is imperative you speak with a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney and preserve your case. Call our office and schedule a free consultation with our experienced lawyers at KAASS Law. We will explain the criminal justice process, be there for you every step of the way, and advise you on various defense options available such as:
- The vehicle belonged to you;
- You believed the vehicle belonged to you;
- You were charged with Penal Code 487 PC, however, you did not intend to steal the vehicle;
- The owner of the vehicle gave you permission to take the vehicle it;
- You were falsely accused of the crime but did not actually commit the crime.
Call our office at (310) 943-1171 or contact us via email at [email protected] to schedule a free case consultation.