Auto theft, also known as motor vehicle theft, is sometimes referred to by police agencies as grand theft auto. It is usually used in reference to the theft of noncommercial passenger automobiles (cars, trucks, sports utility vehicles and more). Motor vehicle theft is the act of stealing a motorized vehicle, such as a car, truck, bus, motorcycle, or trailer. The following are the most common methods and tools used:
- Theft with Access to Keys – Committed by someone with access to the keys. Also referred to as taken without owner’s consent (TWOC). The thief is often a friend or relative.
- Theft of Unattended Vehicle Without Keys – Is the removal of a car from its location by breaking and entering. Sometimes the car is towed away to a private location where it will be broken into using a rod and hook device. The thief then hot-wires the car to start it.
- Opportunistic Car Theft – Occurs when the driver has left the keys in the car (often with the engine running) and left the vehicle unattended. It is committed with little premeditation. The thief simply sees a moment of opportunity and seizes it.
- Fraudulent Theft – Cars are sold under legitimate-sounding pretenses but the buyer has no intention of paying. The vehicle is obtained illegally through a fraudulent transfer of funds, such as with a bad check. Another way is an impersonator who pretends to be that person takes the vehicle without authorization.
- Carjacking – The most serious type of car theft is when a car is taken by force. This is a federal offense that carries serious penalties under the law. The driver could be forcibly removed from the vehicle or the driver could be held hostage and forced to drive.
Types of Auto Theft
Vehicle theft can lead to charges for one of two different offenses. The difference between the two offenses basically revolves around how long the person intended to keep the car.
- You would be charged with GTA if you intended to keep the car permanently or for a substantial period of time.
- If you just intended to take the car for a short spin, there is a good chance you will be charged with joyriding.
Both grand theft auto and joyriding may be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on:
- The circumstance of your case
- Whether you have any prior convictions for this or other offenses
However, GTA under Penal Code 487(d)(1) PC, is usually charged as a
felony and carries a potential jail sentence as long as three years.
Joyriding is usually charged as a misdemeanor for the first offense. Penalties can include a fine of up to five thousand dollars ($5,000) and being locked up in the county jail for up to one year.
The Law Men are experienced and extremely knowledgeable in this area. We will answer all your questions, protect your rights, and fight for you to save your future!