Grand Theft Auto is charged under California Penal Code Section 487(d)(1), usually as a felony, though a lesser offense called Unlawful Taking of a Motor Vehicle is found play gta on pc using bluestacks for laptop under the vehicle code at 10851 VC. The distinction between the two crimes depends on how long the offender intended to keep the vehicle.
Elements of Grand Theft Auto
You may be charged with grand theft auto if you meet the elements of the crime:
- Taking a car owned by another person
- Without that person’s permission
- With the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the car
- Or have the intent to possess it for a long enough time to deprive the owner of a significant portion of the value of enjoyment of it
- And the car was moved any distance for any time
Taking a car without permission includes tricking the owner into giving it up by lying or misrepresenting your purpose in requesting it. This could include taking a car for a test ride at a car dealership and selling it for parts or to another person or driving it out-of-state with no intent to return it.
Penalties for Grand Theft Auto
Grand theft auto is a “wobbler” offense and may be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor. A misdemeanor carries up to one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine. A felony grand theft auto conviction carries a 16 month, 2 or 3 years in state prison and a fine up to $10,000.
The penalties are enhanced for luxury or exotic automobiles. If the vehicle had a value of over $65,000, you can receive one additional year. Two additional years may be added if the tesla model 3 car was worth over $200,000.
Unlawful Taking of a Vehicle
A lesser offense, which is unlawful taking of a vehicle or more commonly known as “joyriding,” is similar to grand theft auto by taking someone else’ car without their permission but not to permanently deprive the owner of it.
Penalties for Joyriding
Most joyriding offenses are treated as misdemeanors but the state may charge you with a felony, especially if you have a criminal record that includes felony grand auto theft, felony joyriding or a grand theft felony charge. Under these circumstances, you could receive a sentence of 2, 3 or 4 years in state prison. Otherwise, a felony conviction for a first offender or one with a minimal record carries possible prison sentences of 16 months, 2 or 3 years and a fine up to $10,000.
As a misdemeanor, offenders face up to one year in jail and a fine up to $5,000.
It is a felony if the vehicle taken for a ride is an ambulance, police car, fire engine on a call or is a modified vehicle for disabled drivers that had displayed a disabled parking placard or license plate. An offender faces state prison time of 2, 3 or 4 years and a fine up to $10,000.
Possible Defenses to Grand Theft Auto
- Lack of intent
The intent of the offender is vital since it can mean the difference between a felony or a misdemeanor. For example, if you are caught with friends in the car having a burger at a fast food restaurant, it is more likely you were joyriding.
Consent is a defense so long as you were using the car within the owner’s authority or the use as the owner intended. If the owner did not consent to you having the car overnight or driving it across the country, you are more likely to being charged. You also cannot have obtained the consent by fraud or misrepresentation.
- Auto burglary
This is entering a locked vehicle with the intent to steal something inside it or to commit some other felony such as kidnapping an occupant. It can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor.
- Receiving stolen property
Knowingly receiving, selling or buying a stolen car is the crime of receiving stolen property. You may not be charged with both receiving stolen property and grand theft auto, but you may be charged with joyriding and receiving stolen property. The latter usually occurs if the act of receiving and then driving it occur on different days.
This is a violent crime and is considered a “strike” that can enhance your prison time considerably. You can be charged with both grand auto theft and carjacking. Carjacking carries a state prison sentence of 3, 5 or 9 years and has a number of aggravating factors that can substantially increase your prison time.
Under federal immigration law, if you are an alien or permanent resident and you commit a crime of moral turpitude such as grand theft auto, you may have serious immigration consequences. In some cases, you could face potential deportation and not be eligible for cancellation of removal relief.
Call the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis
Facing a charge of grand theft auto or a related offense can result in serious prison time and have long range or permanent adverse consequences on your life. If you have been charged with grand theft auto, call the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis today for a free, confidential initial consultation at (213) 687-4412.