Posted on: March 18, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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California Penal Code 487(d)(1) and California Vehicle Code 10851

Orange County criminal defense attorneyCalifornia cities topped the list of urban areas with the highest automobile theft rates in 2013, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Bakersfield topped the national list, followed by Fresno, Modesto, and the San Francisco Bay Area. If you steal a car in California, be prepared to pay the penalty. An accused car thief can be charged with grand theft auto or with the lesser crime of joyriding. Both crimes may be charged as misdemeanors or as felonies under California law, depending on the details of the crime and the suspect’s criminal history. If you face any charge for stealing a car in Orange County for any reason, get legal help fast and arrange at once to speak with an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

Grand theft auto is almost always charged as a felony under California Penal Code 487(d)(1). Grand theft auto is usually the charge if you keep a stolen car for an extended period of time or if you sell or intend to sell a car for parts or to a buyer. A conviction for grand theft auto is punishable 16 to 36 months in custody along with fines and probation.

Joyriding, especially when it’s a first offense, is usually prosecuted as a misdemeanor under California Vehicle Code 10851. Still, a joyriding conviction is punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Depending on the evidence in a car theft case, an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney may be able to argue that you did not intend to steal the vehicle, or that you genuinely believed that it was yours or that you had permission to drive it, or that you’ve been falsely accused.

Dealing with criminal charges is never easy for anyone, but if you’re accused of car theft, exercise your right to remain silent and do not try to act as your own attorney. Instead, do what it takes to protect your freedom and your future. Obtain the serious legal help that you’re very much going to need and contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.