What is Auto Theft?
Auto theft in California carries severe penalties. It is important to know the laws in case you or someone you know happens to break these laws.
Auto theft in California can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the severity of the case. The criminal history of the offender also plays a major role in determining whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony. In most cases, however, the conviction of auto theft is a felony. An example of the factors taken into consideration are as follows:
–The offender took someone else’s vehicle without their permission
–The vehicle stolen is worth more than $950
–The vehicle was taken to a different location, therefore depriving the owner of having access to the car
If the vehicle stolen is part of law enforcement or an ambulance, then the penalties will be even more severe.
If someone takes a vehicle and temporarily takes it and goes for a ride, this is termed “joyriding” and carries different penalties since there was no intent to permanently take the vehicle. Usually, joyriding is a misdemeanor crime. Also, carjacking (taking someone’s vehicle as a threat) is a separate and more severe crime than auto theft and carries different penalties.
To conclude, there is no specific way to determine if auto theft will be a misdemeanor or a felony. The offender’s criminal history is a large factor in determining this, so it varies from case to case. If the conviction is a misdemeanor, the penalty will be up to a year in jail. If it is a felony, jail time is anywhere from 16 months to 3 years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000 may also be added. When charged with a felony for carjacking, the penalty can be anywhere from 3 to 9 years.
It must also be noted that a second conviction for auto theft or unlawful taking of a vehicle falls under California’s “Three Strikes” law. This means that another felony conviction after having been convicted of a felony will result in double the standard jail time. This could mean up to 18 years in jail for theft of a vehicle. It is extremely important to familiarize yourself with the laws in order to prevent such occurrences from happening.
If you ever find yourself in auto theft trouble with the law, do not hesitate to call Avolevan Bail Bonds in Pomona at 909-721-8204. We are the bail bond professionals.