Grand Theft Auto (California Penal Code section 487(d)(1) is a serious crime in Los Angeles.
If convicted, you could face some stern consequences. Grand Theft Auto “GTA” is charged when someone takes another person's vehicle without
the owner's permission and with the intent to deprive the owner of
the vehicle permanently or for a period of time long enough to deprive
the owner of a major portion of the value or enjoyment of the vehicle.
Grand Theft Auto can also occur when someone takes possession of a vehicle
by trick or deceit. Grand Theft Auto is not limited to cars. It includes
trucks, campers, RVs and boats.
There is an alternate vehicle theft crime also used by prosecutors:
Unlawful Taking or Driving of a Vehicle, also known as
Joyriding classified under California Penal Code section 10851. This vehicle theft
occurs when someone takes or drives another person's vehicle without
the owner's consent. Although this crime appears to be similar to
Grand Theft Auto, the main difference lies in the fact that the thief
in a Grand Theft Auto scenario steals the vehicle with no intention of
returning it to the owner while in a Joyriding scenario the thief is taking
a vehicle without intending to keep it. Grand Theft Auto is a more serious crime.
Punishment For Grand Theft Auto
Both Grand Theft Auto and Unlawful Taking or Driving of a Vehicle or Joyriding
may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstance
of your case, and whether you have any prior vehicle theft convictions.
Generally, Grand Theft Auto is usually charged as a felony in Los Angeles,
potentially resulting in a sentence of 16 months to 3 years in state prison.
Misdemeanor Grand Theft Auto carries a maximum of one year in county jail.
Joyriding is generally charged as a misdemeanor for first-time offenders.
This usually results in a $5,000 fine, and/or a maximum of one (1) year
imprisonment in county jail. If Joyriding is charged as a felony then
the punishment is 16 months to 3 years in prison. High-value vehicles
worth more than $65,000 will result in an additional year in the prison
sentence. The prison sentence extends by 2 more years if the car is worth
more than $200,000.
One of the strongest legal defenses to Grand Theft Auto is having the owner's
consent. If the owner of the car gave consent or permission to use the car then
the defendant cannot be convicted of Grand Theft Auto. This is because
the defendant did not have the intent to permanently deprive the owner
of the car. The other defense has to do with
Intent. If the defendant had no specific intent to deprive the owner of the vehicle
even temporarily there would be no Grand Theft Auto. Under those circumstances,
a prosecutor would likely charge Unlawful Taking or Driving of a Vehicle
Our Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help You
If you or someone you know is being investigated, arrested or charged with
a criminal case involving auto theft in Los Angeles, we will use our 75
+ years of combined criminal law experience and knowledge of the criminal
justice system to put together a strong defense strategy and get you the
best results possible.