The crime of tampering with a person’s vehicle in California is outlined under California Vehicle Code 10852. This law, also known as 10852 CVC, carries with it some very serious penalties. If you have been charged with this crime, you should hire an attorney immediately to defend you in court.
What Does 10852 CVC Say?
10852 CVC is the part of the California legal code that defines how vehicles can be legally used in California. This part of the statute specifically bans tampering with a person’s vehicle without their permission.
What this crime entails may seem slightly confusing. However, the law does spell out the specific elements that must exist for it to have occurred. First, the defendant must have intentionally tampered with a vehicle or parts of that vehicle or removed part of the vehicle. Secondly, the owner must have not given permission for the defendant to do so. This crime is generally treated separately from auto burglary which is criminalized under a different part of the law.
What Are Examples of This Crime?
There are many different situations in which this crime may occur. This crime sometimes occurs when a car is left unlocked. A drunken pedestrian may open the door and choose to sleep in the back seat. He or she may even regurgitate inside. This could be prosecuted as tampering with a vehicle. Even if a person only moved around the items inside the vehicle out of curiosity but did not actually steal anything, he or she could be charged under 10852 CVC.
What Are the Punishments for a Conviction?
Unlike other crimes that are charged as felonies in California like auto burglary, tampering with a vehicle is typically classified as a misdemeanor. Under most conditions, misdemeanors in California are punishable with a maximum penalty of $1,000 in fines and a one year jail sentence. Under specific conditions, the penalties may be raised above this maximum. This will occur if the vehicle belonged to a person who was disabled. In this case, the maximum fine is raised to $2,000.
Why You Should Contact Our Law Firm
Despite the fact that breaking 10852 CVC is only considered a misdemeanor charge, it could result in a person spending an entire year behind bars. Hiring a qualified attorney with experience in this area of the law is paramount.
There are a number of effective defenses a quality attorney could present in court to absolve a defendant of these charges. First of all, it could be proven that the defendant did in fact have permission to tamper with the vehicle. This could be the case for someone that was hired or asked to work on that vehicle. Some tampering would be expected in this circumstance.
There may also be a lack of evidence that the defendant was the one who did the tampering. This crime usually occurs without the knowledge of the vehicle owner. Without concrete evidence like video footage, it may be difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury.