Auto Crimes

Grand Theft Auto (GTA)

Penal Code § 487(d) is a "wobbler" and can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged as a misdemeanor the maximum jail sentence that can be imposed is 1 year. If charged as a felony the sentencing triad is 16 months, 2 years or 3 years in custody and a fine up to $10,000 dollars. If there person facing these charges has a prior felony conviction for grand theft auto, then the triad increases to 2, 3 or 4 years.

Under the law of California, auto theft is really no different that any other type of theft. The same section that lists auto in the theft section Penal Code § 487(d) also lists the following: horse, mare, gelding, any bovine animal, any caprine animal, mule, jack, jenny, sheep, lamb, hog, sow, boar, gilt, barrow, or pig.

The point is that there really is nothing special about Grand Theft Auto except for the name. The term Grand Theft Auto or GTA has become a popular term with youth and the not so young in part because of the popular video game Grand Theft Auto and musical references.

Elements Of The Crime (Summary)

  1. Take car belonging to someone else
  2. Without owner or owner agent's consent
  3. When taken, suspect intended to permanently deprive or keep for so long the owner was deprived of a major potion of the value or enjoyment of the car
  4. Suspect moved car, even a small distance, and kept it for any period of time

The crime of grand theft is sometimes difficult for the government (prosecutor) to prove because theft requires the suspect to intend to keep the car. Most autos that are taken are taken for a very temporary purpose such as joyriding and for fun. To get around this proof problem the California Legislature has codified another crime in Vehicle Code § 10851, which does not require the suspect to intend to keep the car. (See below)

Unlawfully Taking Or Driving A Vehicle

Vehicle Code § 10851 is a "wobbler" and can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged as a misdemeanor the maximum jail sentence that can be imposed is 1 year. If charged as a felony the sentencing triad is 16 months, 2 years or 3 years in custody and a fine up to $10,000 dollars. If there person facing these charges has a prior felony conviction for Vehicle Code § 10851, then the triad increases to 2, 3 or 4 years.

Taking or driving a vehicle is much easier for the government (prosecutor) to prove because it doesn't require a permanent or substantial keeping of the vehicle. As noted below all that is required for the government to prove is that the vehicle was taken or driven without the owners permission with the intent to keep the vehicle for ANY period of time.

Elements Of The Crime (Summary)

  1. Taking or driving of vehicle without owner's consent
  2. With the intent to deprive owner of vehicle for ANY period of time

Auto Burglary

Penal Code § 459 2nd Degree Burglary is a "wobbler" and can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged as a misdemeanor the maximum jail sentence that can be imposed is 1 year. If charged as a felony the sentencing triad is 16 months, 2 years or 3 years in custody and a fine up to $10,000 dollars.

Elements Of The Crime (Summary)

  1. Entry into a locked vehicle
  2. With the intent to steal or commit a felony

This crime requires proof that the vehicle was locked prior to the entry. Generally if the owner of the vehicle testifies that the vehicle was locked prior to the entry and that testimony is uncontested, then that element of the crime would be met. A lesser included crime is Vehicle Code § 10852 - Tampering With A Vehicle. (see below)

Tampering With A Vehicle

Vehicle Code § 10852 is a misdemeanor in California. If convicted of this crime the person convicted can spend up to 6 months in county jail and pay a $1,000 fine. This crime requires the governmetn to prove the person (1) Willfully damages or tampered with someone elses vehicle OR Broke or removed vehicle parts (3) Without the owner's consent

Client Reviews
OUTSTANDING! Responsive! Responsible! Committed! Professional! Credible! The BEST! No one can compare! I am still amazed and thankful at how well Tai did in representing my loved ones. I highly recommend Tai to everyone!
★★★★★
When things looked like there was no way out Tie came and made everything go away. When it seemed like I was one step in prison with all my 7 criminal charges, Tai found a way to show my innocence in trial. Can't thank him enough. Best lawyer in the county of San Joaquin.
★★★★★
Thank you Tai for all the efforts you and all your team staff dedicated to my case. If anyone is seeking for a lawyer who will fight for you and dedicate their time - Tai is the one all you need.... You are the best lawyer!!!
★★★★★
The Tai Bogan Law Firm is a solid and dedicated group of Professionals who Passionate about what they do. They are relentless in achieving the very best out come for their clients... I highly recommend you speak to Tai before yo go anywhere else...
★★★★★
Thank you for helping me close a chapter in my life that has been hanging over my head for years. I now have a clean start to a new chapter. Thank you so much for helping me expunge my record so quickly and painfree...no headach or worries. You are awesome!
★★★★★
CALL TODAY FOR A CONFIDENTIAL CONSULTATION *
Contact form