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Grand Theft Auto Attorney in Oakland

Arrested on auto theft charges?

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.

Penalties for Auto Theft in Oakland

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.

Auto theft in California can be charged under two separate offenses, which are:

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.

What are your legal defenses?

As an experienced theft crime lawyer, Attorney Castillo knows what defenses are available to pursue a reduction or dismissal in charges.

Some of the legal defenses include:

  • You had no intention of stealing the vehicle
  • You were falsely accused
  • You had permission from the owner
  • The car actually belonged to you, or you thought it did
  • You were in an emergency situation

Arrested for auto theft? Call now for a risk-free evaluation!

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.

Hear it From A Few
Of Our Clients

  • I would highly recommend Mr Castillo to anyone.

    “Mr Castillo represented me on a criminal case in which I was falsely accused in 2012. He took over the case from a previous lawyer who was less aggressive and not actively pursing my defense. Mr Castillo is a confident, aggressive and very persistent lawyer. He kept my family and I up to date on the case and also returned our calls on time. Mr Castillo persuaded me not to take any deal and wanted take the case to trial because he was confident that he would win. With the Lord's guidance and Ernie's aggressiveness my case was dismissed. I would highly recommend Mr Castillo to anyone.”


  • I can't thank Ernie enough for investing his time and sincere efforts to helping my family out. He truly is a master of his craft.

    “A few years back, Ernie Castillo represented a family member of mine who was charged with a vehicular offense. Although minor compared to the high profile cases Ernie is accustomed to, Ernie took the case with the utmost professionalism and was able to reduce the charge so that my family member's record was not affected. I can't thank Ernie enough for investing his time and sincere efforts to helping my family out. He truly is a master of his craft.”


  • I would recommend Mr. Castillo without any reservation.

    “Ernie Castillo was highly recommended to us. I researched and interviewed a few attorneys before making a decision of who we were going to select. It's so tough selecting when you're skeptical with the horror stories of attorney's not feeling the passion for their work but the money. After long conversations my husband and I decided to go with Ernie to represent our son in a serious case with multiple charges. We were not disappointed at all. Mr. Castillo expertise exceeded our expectations. His was thorough, he kept us up to date on the case, answered all our questions, returned our calls in a timely manner, he's truly a genuine and sincere person. Most of all his knowledge in handling the case was remarkable. I can't express thanks enough to Ernie for the spectacular job he did defending my son who was facing years in jail. He took a stressful situation and relieved it with a positive outcome. I would recommend Mr. Castillo without any reservation.”