An Overview of Auto/Vehicle Theft Charges in CA

Stockton Criminal Law AttorneyCar theft is a common occurrence in California, and people are routinely arrested for car theft charges across the state. There are also instances where someone is arrested after borrowing a car from a friend, or after renting a car and experiencing complications on their end or on the agency’s end. While uncommon, these situations do happen, which is why we believe that a familiarity with auto/vehicle theft charges is important.

For this post, we’re going over the two main types of auto/vehicle theft charges in CA. Remember that this is a quick and general rundown. For more detailed advice, we encourage you to reach out to a qualified legal professional.

Grand Theft Auto

A grand theft auto charge applies when a person takes a car (valued at $950 or more) without permission and with the intent to deprive the owner permanently or temporarily from the vehicle, or the value of the vehicle. This crime is generally prosecuted as a felony, which means that it carries harsh penalties and a permanent felony record.

Joyriding/Unlawful Taking of a Vehicle

Joyriding follows similar parameters as grand theft auto, with the key difference involving the duration of time that the car was taken from its owner. With grand theft auto, the accused must intend to keep the car from the owner permanently, or long enough for the owner to be significantly deprived of the value or enjoyment of the car. This means that even a 15 minute car ride taken without permission can be prosecuted under this law.

Recruit the Assistance of a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney

Under these laws, any issues that crop up while borrowing a friend’s car or renting one from an agency could very well fall under grand theft auto or joyriding, and misunderstandings could carry serious consequences. Keep the guidelines for these criminal charges in mind next time you decide to use a borrowed set of wheels, and in cases where you find yourself facing criminal charges involving the theft of a vehicle, be sure to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Want to learn more about grand theft auto, joyriding, or any other topic involving criminal law in CA? Count on the trusted attorneys at the Jacot Law Firm to provide you with the answers and legal counsel that you seek.

Reach out to us at  209-463-1800 to schedule a consultation today, no commitment required!