San Diego Auto Theft Attorneys
Grand theft auto is the taking, stealing, or driving of another’s car with the intent to deprive them of it. Under California law, the stolen vehicle must be worth more than $400.
The state may charge grand theft auto as a felony or a misdemeanor. Grand theft auto charged under PC 487(d) is a felony. As a felony, the accused faces a sentence of anywhere from 16 months to 3 years in state prison with either 3 years of parole or formal probation. If the accused has no other convictions, grand theft auto may be charged under California Vehicle Code section 10851 as a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors carry a lighter sentence and as such, the accused faces up to a year in county jail and possibly 3 years of informal probation, along with restitution, fines, and community service. Anyone convicted of more than one charge of grand theft auto may face a harsher sentence under California’s Three Strikes law.
Grand Theft Auto Charge-Arrest
Police may make an arrest for grand theft auto on probable cause that the accused has committed the crime. Probable cause exists when facts or circumstances would lead a reasonable person to suspect that a crime has been, is being, or will be committed.
To obtain a conviction, the prosecutor must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The driving or taking of a vehicle;
- not owned by the accused;
- without the owner’s consent;
- with the specific intent to deprive the owner of;
- title or possession of the vehicle.
Grand Theft Auto Defenses
There are a number of defenses for grand theft auto, including:
- Owner consent: The prosecution must prove that the accused took the vehicle without the owner’s consent.
- No specific intent to deprive: If the accused did NOT intend to keep the vehicle permanently, but rather only planned to keep the vehicle temporarily, then the accused did not act with the specific intent to deprive the owner permanently.
Any Grand Theft Auto-related conviction can have far-reaching consequences, including denial of employment or professional licenses. If you have been charged with or are under investigation for grand theft auto, you have a right to talk with an attorney and you need strong representation.