There are two specific laws that are covered within this criminal offense. These are Sec 487(d)(1) of the California Penal Code and the Sec 10851 of the California Vehicle Code. These are most commonly known as “grand theft auto” (GTA) or auto theft, vehicle theft or joyriding.

There is a difference between grand theft auto in California and joyriding lies in the intent of the accused. Grand theft auto must have the intention to permanently remove the vehicle from the ownership of another person or in essence steal it. The value must be above $950 but in California, stealing a car is always considered as grand theft, regardless of the value of the vehicle. On the other hand, joyriding intends to temporarily deprive the owner of the possession but not the ownership.

Grand theft auto is charged as a felony offense while the other offense only is prosecutable as a misdemeanor offense. For the misdemeanor offense, the maximum imposable penalty is one year in county jail while for the felony conviction, the imposable penalties would be between sixteen months to four years in state prison and payment of $10,000 in fines.

Sentencing enhancements for this criminal offense consider the value of the vehicle. When the vehicle is worth over $65,000 and would be subject to additional and consecutive prison sentence of one year. If the vehicle is worth $200,000, then an additional two year sentence is applicable.

The crime of grand theft auto is a serious matter in California. Should you be or know anyone facing any of these charges, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.