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Grand theft auto is a serious criminal charge in the State of California. It’s defined as the act of stealing a vehicle that is not in your name for any reason even if it’s only to steal the items found inside the vehicle. Grand theft auto falls under Penal Code 459 PC, which is the crime of theft. It’s considered grand theft auto because automobiles are valued at more than $950. Burglary is not a crime the law looks favorably upon, and the consequences of being found guilty of this crime follow you the rest of your life.
Stealing a car can cause you to lose your ability to work in many industries when you are released from jail. It can affect your ability to get a job, your credit score, and your family life. Your entire future could be threatened if you are found guilty of grand theft auto, and that is why you must call an attorney when you are arrested. An attorney can help you defend yourself in court and potentially walk away an innocent man or woman.
Grand Theft Auto
The misconception is this crime only occurs if you steal a vehicle and take it elsewhere, but it’s far more complex than this. Auto burglary includes breaking into a car to steal anything you find in the car as long as you have the intention to commit any felony crime while inside the vehicle. For example, you might not take the car anywhere, but you might decide to get into someone else’s car in a parking lot to sell drugs without being seen by anyone else. Even if that car belongs to your parents but you don’t have permission to use it, you’re committing a crime in their car on purpose. It’s illegal.
Penalties for Auto Burglary or Grand Theft Auto
Depending on the individual circumstances of a crime like this, the prosecuting attorney can decide to charge you with a felony or a misdemeanor. In California law, this is defined as a wobbler charge. It could go either way based on the recommendation of the court. If the prosecutor decides to charge you with felony grand theft auto, you’re facing anywhere from 16 months to three years in a state prison. If the charge is a misdemeanor charge, you’re facing up to a year in a county jail.
Legal Defense for A Grand Theft Auto Charge
If you’re accused of grand theft auto in California, you have options for defending yourself. If you are innocent of this crime, call an attorney and tell them why you are innocent and how this is happening in your life. If you are innocent, your defense is innocence. There are several ways to defend yourself.
– You didn’t mean to commit this crime
– The car was not locked
– There isn’t enough evidence to charge you with this crime
For example, if you take a car that belongs to your grandmother out for a joyride one night, she might not know you are using the car and report it stolen. She gave you permission to use it anytime you want, but she forgot that you were visiting and didn’t think to call you to see if you were using it first. You can argue this when you are charged with this crime. You can even argue you were being chased by someone with ill intent and needed to get away. When you noticed an unlocked car with the keys in the ignition, you did what you had to do to protect yourself.
Call an attorney if you are charged with grand theft auto. This is a serious crime, and you could spend years in jail if you are found guilty of this crime. Do not allow this to happen to you. Call an attorney right away to protect yourself, fight your case, or have your charges reduced or dropped. You do have a right to defend yourself, and you have the right to an attorney when you are arrested and charged with any crime in California. This right is given to you when you are arrested.