If you were arrested for stealing an automobile, you could be facing felony charges. We urge you to contact The Castillo Law Office for legal representation! Oakland Criminal Defense Attorney, Ernesto Castillo is an aggressive negotiator and equally skilled trial attorney. Not only has he been featured on various major media outlets including CNN, FOX, NBC, CBS, and ABC, but he has received some of the most sought after recognitions in the legal field such as selection for inclusion in California's Super Lawyers® Rising Stars℠ list for 2013.
Grand theft auto, or auto theft is the felonious stealing, or taking of someone else's vehicle without their consent or with the purpose of permanently depriving them of their property. The theft of property valued at $950 or more is considered grand theft under Penal Code Section 484-502.9.
Under California law, grand theft auto is a "wobbler" offense, meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending upon the circumstances of the case. While auto theft is most commonly charged as grand theft under Penal Code Section 487, it can be charged under VC Section 10850.
The difference between the two offenses generally has to do with how long you intended to keep the car you took. If you intended to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle, you'll most likely be charged under PC 487, whereas if you took the car out for a joyride, you'll probably be charged under VC Section 10850.
Grand theft auto is usually charged as a felony under the Penal Code, punishable by 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in prison. Under VC 10851, unlawful taking of a vehicle is typically charged as a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000 or imprisonment in county jail for up to 1 year, or both.
As an experienced theft crime lawyer, Attorney Castillo knows what defenses are available to pursue a reduction or dismissal in charges.
If you're facing auto theft charges, the very last thing you want is to go to prison and receive a felony conviction. At The Castillo Law Office, we have a firm grasp of the various defenses that can be effectively used in an auto theft case, including the defense that you had no intention of depriving the owner permanently, or that you were merely borrowing the vehicle.
Since grand theft auto is frequently charged in conjunction with other crimes such as carjacking, kidnapping, and robbery, it's critical that you contact our office so we can aggressively defend you and seek a favorable outcome in your criminal case.