Auto and Motor Vehicle Theft
In California, there are three crimes which constitute motor vehicle or auto theft; these including grand theft auto, carjacking, and joyriding (vehicle theft). All of these criminal offenses should be considered serious, as the penalties if convicted are severe. At The Justice Firm, our Los Angeles motor vehicle theft defense lawyers have the skill, experience, and aggressive approach essential to obtaining good results for our clients. Regardless of the charges against you, we urge you to contact us today for unsurpassed legal representation.
Penal Code section 215 defines carjacking as the use of fear or force to take a motor vehicle which is in the possession of another individual from that person's immediate presence, or from the presence or person of a passenger of that vehicle with the intention of either temporarily or permanently depriving that person of the property. Carjacking is a felony offense.
Penal Code section 487(d)(1) defines grand theft auto as theft of an automobile regardless of its value. In California, the theft of a vehicle is always considered grand theft. This offense may be charged either as a misdemeanor or felony, as it is what is known in the state as a "wobbler."
Vehicle Code section 10851 defines joyriding (vehicle theft) as the taking of a vehicle which is not your own without the permission of the owner, intending to either temporarily or permanently deprive the vehicle's owner of its possession or title. Also a wobbler offense, joyriding may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.Los Angeles Auto Theft Defense Firm Providing Vigorous Defense for Clients
We understand the importance of having a capable, skilled defense lawyer when accused of grand theft auto, joyriding, or carjacking. Those arrested or charged with a motor vehicle theft offense face serious consequences if convicted, including potential prison time and substantial fines. You will also have a criminal record which could impact current or future employment.
Our goal is to help clients avoid criminal charges when possible; however if you have already been charged, we will work to have charges dismissed or reduced. Should your case go to trial, we will use all of our knowledge and skill in our effort to secure an acquittal so that you can avoid damaging criminal penalties. Some effective defense strategies for those accused of motor vehicle theft in LA include:
- The vehicle belonged to you, or you believed it did
- You were falsely accused of taking the vehicle
- You actually had consent from the owner to take the vehicle
- For grand theft auto only, you did not intend to steal
Those charged with grand theft auto or vehicle theft are innocent until proven guilty, which is the burden of the prosecutor.Criminal Penalties for Motor Vehicle Theft in California
Depending on the specific offense you are accused of, the penalties if convicted are as follows:
If convicted of carjacking, you may be given a prison sentence of three, five, or nine years; carjacking is also considered a strike offense in California.
A conviction for grand theft auto will leave you facing penalties which include a maximum of three years in prison if charged as a felony. However, if the value of the automobile involved is more than $65,000, one year may be added to the individual's sentence. If the value of the vehicle exceeds $200,000, an additional two years may be added to the sentence.
Joyriding will result in penalties which include up to 12 months in county jail if charged as a misdemeanor; if charged as a felony, a conviction will result in up to three years in county jail.Contact The Justice Firm now
As you can see, charges of motor vehicle theft are not to be taken lightly. At The Justice Firm, our Los Angeles auto theft lawyers will work vigorously on your behalf, giving your case the personal attention you deserve. We want to protect your freedom and reputation; contact us now at 310-914-2444 for solid, effective legal guidance and support.