AUTO THEFT CAN HAVE MANY VICTIMS

Posted on: October 26, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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Orange County criminal defense lawyerCalifornia Penal Code 487(d)(1) and California Vehicle Code 10851

If you steal a car for a short spin and abandon it, you’ll probably be charged with joyriding. Grand theft auto is charged if you keep a stolen car or if you sell the car or the car parts. If you’re charged with either joyriding or with grand theft auto under California Penal Code 487(d)(1) or California Vehicle Code 10851, get legal help immediately and contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer. One top-ranking Los Angeles County sheriff’s official recently learned that you can be a victim of auto theft in California even if no one steals your car.

Assistant Sheriff Michael Rothans bought a 2012 Audi A4 after it was seized by sheriff’s deputies from a suspected gang member at a DUI checkpoint. Rothans, the department’s third-ranking official, said he had no idea he was driving a stolen car until more than a year after buying it from Vernola’s Towing in Norwalk. Sheriff’s officials are prohibited from purchasing property that has been seized by the department, and the prohibition also applies to purchases made through a third party. Rothans said he considered the sale a private transaction between friends and thought it was permitted. It turns out that the vehicle was originally stolen from an Orange County car dealership.

Both grand theft auto and joyriding may be charged as misdemeanors or as felonies under California law. However, grand theft auto is almost always charged as a felony under California Penal Code 487(d)(1). If convicted of grand theft auto, you could serve 16 to 36 months in jail along with fines and probation. Joyriding, when it’s a first offense, is usually charged as a misdemeanor under California Vehicle Code 10851; even so, a misdemeanor conviction for joyriding is punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000. If you are accused of joyriding or grand theft auto, obtain the serious legal help that you’re very much going to need, and contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer immediately.

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